"I will never go into a care home."
Our mom said this often but she has now been in the Gateway Lodge in Prince George for over two years. Sometimes it can't be avoided.
Mom is on the third floor of Gateway and has a nice room. The lodge itself is nice. However we all know it is the people that work there that make a care home happy and comfortable. Many of the Gateway staff are hard working and very good with mom. We really do appreciate those staff members.
Having our mother put into care was a difficult decision for all of us and we have had to deal with the sadness, guilt and stress of having her there. On top of this we deal with constant issues, moms call button often doesn't work, her room is very hot in the summer, ensuring her medications are on time, her adaptive clothing put on properly and the ongoing issue of weekly baths. Although one bath a week is not acceptable, it is often cancelled due to staff shortages. We have been told that because mom's bath day is Friday that workers often call in sick, especially when the weather is nice. There is no one to cover these shifts so the residents go without a bath or their hair washed. No bath for up to 10 days is wrong. We have been dealing with these issues for most of mom's time in Gateway and we are finding it extremely frustrating. It is often made worse by the inability to speak with someone in charge or to have them return our calls. We have followed all the steps, spoken to management and contacted Northern Health. Things seem to improve for a while but soon fall back into the same patterns.
Our elderly deserve respect and to be cared for, made comfortable and happy as possible during this time in their lives. They have paid taxes and worked hard most of their lives. Why are our governments not addressing these issues?
We are a large family and our mom has a lot of us to advocate for her. We are concerned for those residents who have no one to speak for them. We don't have much faith in the residential care system at this point and it terrifies us to think that one day it may be one of us in a care home. The system needs to be improved!