What's up: Health care part of aging culture
|By George Farrell - Columnist | January 12, 2017|
A few months ago, I wrote an article on disability and the kindness of friends. It was to do with my parents and how friends had stepped up to help them obtain scooters, so that they could get around town. My story this week is an update on my folks and how our culture, specifically our health care system, looks after older people.
As I write this, I’m not well. I’ve been suffering from the infernal viral infection that’s been going around. I’ve had it for three weeks and it rendered Christmas and the New Year’s as fuzzy forgettables.
During these recuperative days, I’ve thought a great deal about health, and getting older, because while I’ve had to deal with this infection I’ve also had to deal with my parent’s health and welfare. Mom is 91 and dad is 94. Remarkably, they’re still living in their own home.
Both my parents have always appreciated art. My mom was a fine weaver, and dad used his expertise as a scenic artist to assist in several theatre productions. But now art for them is an abstract concept which is no longer affecting them in any significant way. Our culture, however, specifically the section that covers our well-being, has enabled my parents to live at home for as long as they have; but due to their ages and failing health it’s time to look for alternatives.
With that in mind, I asked both parents recently whether they’d like to view the amenities and activities at Highland Crest, the long-term care facility located at the Minden hospital. Dad wanted to go and have a look, but mom declined. I don’t know what we expected but dad and I were amazed at the facility and what it had to offer; and I admit to forcibly holding back tears as I saw the smile on dad’s face throughout the tour.
Everything we saw was spotlessly clean.The rooms are light and bright, as are the hallways and the numerous seating areas, where people can sit and read, or just relax. But there’s also loads of activities, including therapeutic arts and crafts, and musical entertainment. There are rooms available for family get-togethers, plus outdoor patios and a barbeque area. There are medical and community services offered, including physiotherapy, dental care, hair and nail care and geriatric psychiatry.
Now of course all this comes at a cost, and costs vary, depending on whether a private or semi-private room is requested. But it was nice to find out that both my parents could be together in one room, if that’s the way the scenario eventually plays out. Highland Wood in Haliburton village is similar to Highland Crest and both facilities are administered by the Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS).
Both my mom and dad have finally agreed to go on waiting lists for Highland Crest and Highland Wood, which can be up to 18 months, so plan well in advance if you are acting as an advocate on behalf of loved ones. As for myself, I’m slowly getting better, in part due to the knowledge that our culture is so well-equipped to take care of people such as my mom and dad.
GEORGE FARRELL is a columnist at The Highlander.