Category Archives: Seniors

Who Has the Right to Control Your Life?

Caught between archaic, paternalistic laws and deteriorating conditions in care homes, more and more BC seniors and their families are discovering how easy it is for the elderly to lose basic civil rights that we often take for granted. (Originally published in Focus, January 2009.)



We’re here to bust an 86-year-old woman out of a nursing home.

Kim packs Joan’s personal items (some names have been changed to protect anonymity). I survey the quaint room and ask, “Do you like it here?”

Joan replies, “I want to go home.”

Instantly, I see why Joan is in trouble. I’ll soon learn she’s smart and funny, but she looks feeble and vulnerable. Dammit, she looks old. You feel an instinct to reach an arm around and reassure her, “I’ll take care of everything.” You want to take charge.

For Joan, that’s become the problem.

We walk toward the exit. But how hard can it be for a daughter to get her own mom get out of a residential home?

“I thought I could never be shocked again,” Kim says later, while her mother meets with a lawyer. As a health care consultant, Kim thought she’d already seen the worst of health care. “But I’m continually reeling.” Continue reading