The Grandparents’ Rights Association of the Yukon has contact with many elders and seniors across the Yukon in our work with them. While we agree that it is expedient to plan well into the future with the increase in an aging population, we are dismayed at the Yukon government’s unilateral decision to eventually build a huge 300-bed continuing care facility.
At one time elders from the Yukon were shipped out to Kamloops because there was no facility for First Nations in the Yukon. Many of them died alone in what amounts to a foreign country.
Fortunately that is no longer the case. However, the idea of a large centralized facility in Whitehorse brings back the terrible fear of having to leave family, friends, and a community in which they have spent a lifetime.
To be warehoused in an anonymous building for the sake of government efficiency is elder abuse. No one wants to spend their remaining years in that situation.
To add insult to injury, the decision has also been made to build this institution not only far from home, but far from services, in Whistle Bend. It is vitally important for seniors and elders to see their family and friends drop in, whether it be at lunch, school or just after work for a few minutes. That isn’t possible at that location.
They worry about being too far away from the hospital and ambulance, from shopping, recreation, and the pleasures of being amongst people of all ages. These are increasingly necessary as we grow older.
Even inmates of correctional institutions are given more consideration for their emotional and social supports when a choice is made to locate them. Members of GRAY have talked to seniors who have places at the college who report that they find it very difficult to have company even there, particularly in our long winter.
The Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse must scrap this atrocious decision. They seem to be able to find downtown locations for government offices without a problem. Public servants’ convenience should not take precedence over our elders’ and seniors’ needs.
Grandparents’ Rights Association of the Yukon