The air conditioning is broken at seniors care home Providence Place in Moose Jaw, and with inside temperatures soaring to 35 degrees, those raising concerns are being told to wait for August or even September for relief.
A number of staff and family members have contacted the Opposition to say their pleas to local Moose Jaw MLAs and the health minister have been dismissed. A new air conditioning unit won’t be rushed – it’ll come closer to the fall. The NDP wants installation of the new unit sped up, and temporary rentals installed in the meantime.
“Simply dismissing concerns in seniors care homes is par for the course with this government,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “It can’t happen this time. These seniors and long-term care residents are suffering, and in danger.”
Fifteen-year caregiver Audra Zolmer has been hired by families of residents at Providence Place to supplement the care their loved ones are getting in the understaffed facility. She says she sees seniors sweating and looking ill.
“We’re going to have people dropping dead here if something’s not done,” said Zolmer. “These seniors are very fragile and very vulnerable.”
The step daughter of one resident says she’s worried about seniors becoming dehydrated. Marion Kenney is worried about those who aren’t mobile enough to get a glass of water, and is especially worried about those with specific health needs – like a resident with MS who can’t stand the high indoor temperatures.
“It’s supposed to be a health facility for the seniors, but where is the real care for their health?” Kenney asked.
Both Zolmer and Kenney said they felt sick after just hours in the facility, and can’t comprehend having to live or work there.
“I want action today,” said Chartier. “I’m hearing the air conditioning unit at Province Place has been sketchy, for the last five years working only off-and-on, and hasn’t worked a day this year. Why didn’t this government and its health region do anything before this became a crisis? I want to know right now that temporary units will be installed immediately, and that the government is taking this concern seriously.”