Sunday, July 31, 2016

the habit

on a boat made of water
I travel the long distance
from silence to the song that waits
there is a destination
that is mysterious
that the song recognizes
but how to travel there?

I wait for the song
that is hidden from view
I am curious but lack the tools to make
I watch the other poets
who have developed self discipline
and worked for decades
to write the unsayable

they have made a practice of it
I read their poems
and I write out their minds
so that I may approximate
slivers of their skillfulness
I have a boat made of water
and a river of silence to travel upon

but where am I going to?
where is the far country?
and when words arrive like storm clouds
will there be a song?
or will the silence write it all to gloom?
I send this small note to ask these questions of you
so that you might let me know the way

is it all about endurance and this long wait?
by the river the herons are piercing the ears
that listen
and the caterpillars have sewn up time
in the chrysalis that swings
the rope of singing is placed by the shore
where the poem is waiting    when I arrive there

I will take up the lessons I have learned
and piece together the journey
I will say the words that have flown through the gloom
these carrion birds of the night
that feast on the last hours
you must not think I am ungrateful
the habit is wrenched out the socket and made into poems

I am writing the stories of abuse and death in Alberta ---

I am writing the stories
of abuse and death in Alberta
because the victims are silenced
I write them out every day
because even if the world forgets them
there is a record of witnessing
their lives on this blog

when I have a few minutes available
I write down another record
that tells the stories
good men and women
who had no choices in dying
were subject to the whims of the PCs
who privatized continuing care in Alberta

the idea was that the private sector
could do the work
of caring for the most vulnerable citizens
in a cheaper way than government could
but what about the duty of the MLAs?
well the duty of politicians appears to be
refusal to help their constituents when we come to them

they tell us that they aren't able to assist us
when we bring stories of abuse and death
in continuing care in Alberta
and so what are good citizens supposed to do?'
I guess we're supposed to accept non-performance
and negligence by the government folks because this is how
they have done the business for 44 years (silencing families)

but what if families don't accept the usual methods of government?
what if we speak out about abuse and death in continuing care?
what if we write the stories of horror in our own families?
what happens then?  we turn the current situation up side down
and we turn into activists    each mummy that rises up from her silence
and speaks about systematic incompetence and refusal to do the work
for the most vulnerable citizens will alter what is in continuing care

VIDEO: The Disability Community Responds to Me Before You movie

There’s a brand new video created by Carrie Ann Lucas celebrating protests of the movie “Me Before You” by the disability community on three continents. Carrie is on the Board of Directors of NDY and one of the leaders of Colorado NDY. Here’s how she describes the video:
The disability community responded to the disability snuff movie, Me Before You, with protests in many countries on three continents. The movie gives audiences the message that if you’re a disabled person, you’re better off dead #LiveBoldly? We already do! #MeBeforeEuthanasia
The musical backdrop for the video is by activist/songwriter/musician/singer Johnny Crescendo, singing “Not Dead Yet,” a song he wrote years ago about our community’s opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia.  The video is captioned – and here’s info on how to access audio description:
Video described version available at at
Caution: This video includes rapidly moving images which may induce seizures or other neurological responses in sensitive individuals.

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that small hissing snake

I will make a poem
when first I awake
to encounter life
  that small hissing snake

for sleep's the time of shelter
when the pale shadow leaves
morning brings the mind
in all it's thinking sleeves 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

after supper

Because I am very sleepy I will write a tiny post. Older boy is here. It feels very good. I never appreciated being a family until he moved out. We went out for supper and now he is talking with his dad.  I am in bed. My laptop is very hard to use so I move like a slug on a Petunia bloom trying not to wipe out the sentences I type. The laptop is very sensitive so I can't move very much or everything is wiped off. This is what happens when you eat too much and now like a big Beluga whale lie in bed almost asleep.

I have failed to write every day. It has just been too busy.  I feel that I should simply expand time to allow me to do all the work that needs doing. Instead I am on my bed, almost asleep, trying to get the writing practice done on a laptop computer that I detest because it erases my writing and maybe the entire post.  Why can't they make a non-overly sensitive lap top computer?

Then I can't even look at Facebook because it takes forever to load comments. I did manage to write comments on Jason Nixon's page. I will have to put them here because some of the comments by Wildrose supporters are like the comments by the NDP supporters. Very annoyed. I gave up after a while but I did post my comments to defend the Notley. Even though she banned me from her Facebook page I do not think it is nice to insult her the way some of the Wildrose folks were doing on Mr. Nixon's Facebook page.

Folks are far too emotional about politics and politicians.  They all need to understand that this is all a game to these folks and then they have to learn to play the game. The political game is not fun but it is educational.

After a big supper it is easy to meander on and on.  I will go and look at art on Facebook as I am fried.

Friday, July 29, 2016

for a story untold is a heart broken / that hasn't healed

and so the spin is that
we care about every life in Alberta
but the truth is less satisfactory
we care about the folks who can speak
and advertise their disability
but for those who are without insight
or who can't protect themselves
it's less clear what's in place

and so the spin is that
the government of Alberta
knows what it is doing
but the reality is that there are many bureaucrats
all working a piece of this territory
and the team doesn't seem to be sure
about what is in place
(it sure seems to be difficult to set policy)

and the official line
seems to be that "we're working on it"
but what is it that they're working on?
and when will we see progress
from abuse and death in Alberta?
I guess it will only happen when more families
leave the position of silence 
and say what happened to their family members

but if you stay silent
don't think that these stories of horror
won't fester inside you      they will
for a story untold is a heart broken 
that hasn't healed
I tell you the story of my handicapped sister
who the doctors tried to prematurely terminate in Alberta
and if you have your own horror story      publish it  because they're not dead yet 

VIDEO: The Disability Community Responds to Me Before You movie

Public surveys---Continuing Care

Continuing Care

Public surveys

You have the opportunity to help shape policy and legislation. Three regulations, the Nursing Homes Operation Regulation, theNursing Homes General Regulation, and the Co-ordinated Home Care Program Regulation, expire in 2017. As part of reviewing and updating these regulations, Albertans have the opportunity to provide feedback by completing two online surveys.
The surveys ask for input on staffing in nursing homes, supports for caregivers and what types of social and recreational activities should be available in nursing homes, among other topics.

Take the surveys

  • Complete the surveys by July 31 – go to:
    • The surveys are being conducted by R. A. Malatest & Associates on behalf of Alberta Health
Feedback from 10 stakeholder sessions held in 8 communities between May 30 and June 16 will be included in the review process. Invitees at these sessions included continuing care clients/residents and their family members, supportive living and long-term care facility operators, advocacy groups, care providers, and others.

Abused by 'the system'

Abused by 'the system'
A daughter's story of her elderly mother's mistreatment in long-term care
Wednesday, Jun 22, 2016 06:00 am

    • Cynthia Jonasson wrote this incredible and terribly upsetting book about her mother's mistreatment in a local long-term seniors' care facility. The book receives a launch and discussion event this weekend.
      Cynthia Jonasson wrote this incredible and terribly upsetting book about her mother's mistreatment in a local long-term seniors' care facility. The book receives a launch and discussion event this weekend.


    On My Mother's Behalf
    by Cynthia Jonasson
    157 pages
    Can be purchased in store at Chapters or online through or PageMaster.
    It’s a tragic story that simply had to be told. Cynthia Jonasson’s mother, Grace Denyer, passed away four years ago. She was a resident of a local long-term seniors care facility and was mistreated time and time again by staff and managers alike.
    Mistreatment is an understatement.
    The story made the headlines, but media coverage doesn’t fix what happened. It can only work to prevent the problem from happening again.
    That’s why Jonasson (along with her sister Beth Podgurny acting as editor) decided that the story was too important to fade into the background. After all, it’s not the only story that has come out of people’s experiences within ‘the System.’ On My Mother’s Behalf is their new book, recently published and set to receive a book launch and discussion event this Saturday.
    For all intents and purposes, it’s one of the most difficult stories that I have ever had to read. It’s also one of the best written: astute, precise, and brutally honest. The only thing that allays the anger that arises from hearing what happened to this woman and her family is the pleasure of reading a piece of non-fiction so professionally produced despite being from a novice author.
    Some stories are that important. Jonasson said that it all started as a simple journalling as a way of recording the traumatic events instead of having them always in her head.
    “The process of writing started as a cathartic exercise for me,” she began. “Beth took my writings, edited and organized them, and insisted that the story be shared. The decision to publish was tough. At times, I wanted to put my writing on the shelf. However, Beth encouraged me to share the story. In my heart, I knew she was right.”
    Sharing the story is one thing but On My Mother’s Behalf is very careful to not name either the facility or the people in the health-care system who were involved. One could simply search through websites of organizations such as the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society to get an education on this and many other cases.
    This book very carefully details not only Grace’s physical and psychological mistreatment but also the legal and political fallout that included legislative debate and Jonasson nearly being thrown in jail for her continued calling out of such systemic abuses.
    While Grace’s story is now all a matter of record in the newspaper articles and the government reports, it was far more compelling for Jonasson to be non-specific because of how far-reaching the mistreatment goes. Grace, the author says, wasn’t alone.
    “Ours is not a unique story. Many seniors and families have had and continue to have similar experiences in many different facilities. To focus on one facility would diminish the pervasiveness of these issues.”
    The issues revolve around the lack of basic care and extend into outright abuse. Several times while reading the book, I found myself unable to tolerate even the thought of a person having to suffer as Grace did. I have no personal connection with anyone currently in such a facility but I was outraged. Such is the power of this story.
    At the very beginning, Jonasson suggests that people wouldn't believe that it was an accurate retelling of actual events. She later clarified that she wrote this because she couldn’t believe it herself.
    “I was experiencing my mother being neglected and abused right before my very eyes and couldn’t do anything about it or stop it. I hope to give a voice to those who are unable to speak for themselves. To bring about awareness. Most people are unaware of what many seniors and their families experience in ‘the System’ until they encounter it themselves.”
    “I hope that if I require the same level of care, by that time, ‘the System’ will have improved and no one will be experiencing what many are experiencing today.”
    The book has already had two book launch events including one at the Chapters store here in St. Albert. Jonasson and Podgurny indicated that people continue to approach them to tell them their own stories from past and ongoing experiences “often in tears.” They have received thanks even from people working inside these facilities, some of whom she suggested were too afraid to speak out on their own. She encourages readers to be aware of agencies such as Public Interest Alberta and Persons for Protection in Care to get help.
    The event takes place on Saturday, June 25 from noon to 4 p.m. Audreys Bookstore is located at Jasper Ave. in Edmonton. for more information.

    On My Mother's Behalf A Daughter's Story

    Public Interest Alberta
    February, 2012
    Media Statement
    March 14, 2012
    Release Date June 6th, 2016!

    Julie Ali The Podgurny sisters are amazing and everyone should read their book. The unacceptable suffering of their mother is an indictment of the callous disregard of all governments -PC and NDP to the plight of our most vulnerable at risk seniors in continuing care. For those seniors and handicapped citizens who have family to advocate for them -there is always the risk of retribution; this risk has not been remedied by the weak response of Sarah Hoffman. Why has there been no effort by Sarah Hoffman and the NDP caucus to amend the Trespass to Premises legislation that allows any continuing care provider or hospital facility to ban and restrict families from contact with their loved ones? Instead of amending this unfair piece of Tory developed legislation we have a weak internal to AHS appeal policy that has no ability to correct injustices of any sort. Such an appeal policy is for show and not for correction. A just society model requires true remedy. When will Sarah Hoffman and the NDP folks do the job we have hired them to do? Or will they be fired and we will have to hire new people to government to do the will of the people of Alberta. Stand up for your families folks. Do what the Podgurny sisters courageously did--speak out, write about the hell family members go through and the failures of the government of Alberta to do anything about these abuses in continuing care.----------------On My Mother's Behalf A Daughter's Story------------------------Follow the story behind the headlines: blackmail; top political leaders ‘washing their hands’ of the situation, while other leaders wanting a front row seat; politicians debating her private care eviction in the legislature; nearly being thrown in jail; lawyers holding back disclosure; witnessing their mother's neglect and abuse by those entrusted to her care; and government watchdogs unwilling to fulfil their mandate.

    The struggle to find care

    By Marcia Love, Spruce Grove Examiner/Stony Plain Reporter
    Friday, July 29, 2016 9:57:02 MDT AM
    Photo supplied
    Photo supplied
    • Bookmark and Share
    Change text size for the story
    The system is broken. It’s shattering lives and must be fixed.
    That’s the message an area family is trying to get out after they say their mother suffered as a result of a deeply flawed health care system.
    Cynthia Jonasson and Elizabeth Podgurny spent years trying to get the proper care for their mother, Grace Denyer, as her health declined. The sisters recounted the struggles they went through — from misdiagnoses to delayed treatments to lies.
    Now, Jonasson has released their story in the pages of her book, On My Mother’s Behalf, which came out last month. The book was edited by Podgurny.
    “We hope to give a voice to those who are unable to speak for themselves — to bring about awareness,” said Podgurny. “Most people are unaware of what many seniors and their families experience in ‘the System’ until they encounter it themselves.”
    Denyer’s health problems began in 2008 when she was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. With her eyesight also failing, memory issues and physical decline, her daughters sought appropriate care for her within their community.
    Denyer passed away in 2012.
    On My Mother’s Behalf tells of the family’s journey “through a system that has lost its compassion and where indifference is pervasive,” Jonasson writes.
    Denyer was placed in a long-term care facility in 2010, where her daughter said the care she received was inadequate. This progressed to the point her family decided she would not be returning to the facility.
    They then learned of a private long-term care home in the area, and Denyer moved there in December 2011.
    According to Jonasson, a monthly rate was agreed upon, however, the owner was soon asking for an additional $1,500 a month. They later learned it was not a licensed long-term care home, but a group home. Shortly after that, they received an eviction notice.
    Political battles followed, and eventually an appeal panel found staff at the long-term care facility had failed to provide adequate medical attention resulting in serious bodily harm.
    But the family said this doesn’t change what happened to their mother, and it hasn’t solved anything.
    “Even though the facility and staff were found guilty, the private care home broke the law and governmental policies, there was no accountability,” Jonasson stated. “There was no penalty, little to nothing was done. There was no change.”
    The sisters, who live in the Spruce Grove-St. Albert riding, had several meetings with the deputy premier at the time regarding their struggles with the health care system.
    Jonasson began the process of writing down their experiences as a cathartic exercise, with no intention of publishing it, but Podgurny insisted their story needed to be heard.
    After the struggles with long-term care, Podgurny equipped her home to care for her mother’s needs, and the family hired staff to assist.
    Since the book was released, Podgurny said they have been approached by many people who have loved ones in the health care system.
    “They have shared their past and ongoing struggles — often in tears,” she said, adding they have even heard from health care employees who are afraid to speak out but have spoken privately to them about their concerns.
    The sisters hope sharing their story will bring awareness and spark changes in a system that should be offering care and compassion to the most vulnerable.
    “If nothing changes in our medical system,” Jonasson writes, “potentially this could be you and your loved one’s story.”
    On My Mother’s Behalf is available at Indigospirit in the Westland Market Mall and online at

    The mistreatment of AB Seniors: Mckenzie Town Care Centre
    Remember this? Remember how Fred Horne ordered an investigation/audit into the deaths of Wyonne Somers and Violet Macdonald? Remember that the audit found several operational and procedural deficiencies? Remember that the audit CONFIRMED patient neglect? Now .... remember how Fred Horne has allowed McKenzie Towne Care Centre to continue operations in spite of DEATHS RESULTING FROM NEGLECT?!
    Fred Horne has a record of NEGLECTING issues that adversely affect our elderly population. In fact, he called the deaths of Wyonne and Violet "isolated incidents".
    And then there are the issues at Edmonton's Misercordia Hospital. Any other individual in any other organization or company would be fired for the same level of incompetence and poor job performance. Isn't it time that the people of Alberta, Fred Horne's employer, speak up and speak out to have him fired? 

    The mistreatment of AB Seniors: Mckenzie Town Care Centre
    ir organization "enhances lives". Based on our personal experience and the experiences of several other families, this is simply false advertising! To date, neither McKenzie Towne Care Centre or their corporate office have admitted any accountability or responsibility for a number of deaths last fall due to neglect!! How dare you make the claim that your organization enhances lives?!! Shame on you!!! The hearts of my family and I, along with other families, still have holes in them. Our beloved seniors did NOT deserve to die as a result of your massive incompetence, mistakes and neglect!!

    LikeShow more reactions

    I know the posted images are graphic. Some who view them may turn away, be offended or ask, "Why would someone post such horrible, sad photos?" Because, my Mom did not deserve to be mistreated, abused and neglected to the point that it cost her life. She was a kind, loving, helpful, giving woman who raised a daughter and 2 sons, one who was mentally and physically disabled. She was a daughter, a wife, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a neighbour, a coach in Special Olympics, a community volunteer and most importantly, OUR MOM!! She deserves justice! How dare Revera and Dr. Katz make the statements they did in the Calgary Herald? How can you care so much more about your profits and reputation than you do about the human being that you took from us?!!!

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    This photo was taken just days before my Mom passed away in October 2013, 5 short months after entering McKenzie Towne Care Centre in Calgary. Her body had been decimated by the sepsis. Something that could have been prevented IF she had received timely, appropriate and effective care from the wound nurse and other supposedly qualified staff. Notice the obvious deterioration in her appearance in just five months. Is this what Dr. Katz, the geriatric expert retained by Revera to do an independent investigation, refers to as receiving appropriate care in the June 5th Calgary Herald article? Let us know your thoughts.

    The mistreatment of AB Seniors: Mckenzie Town Care Centre's photo.


    These are photos of my Mom in July 2013, after residing in McKenzie Towne Care Centre for 2 months. Staff claimed that she had an "unwitnessed fall", yet, there were no other bruises anywhere else on her body. This photo was taken 6 days after she allegedly fell. She still had not been seen by a physician at that point. EMT transported her to hospital - she was diagnosed with a concussion. Mom wore glasses, which could not be found after this incident.

    The mistreatment of AB Seniors: Mckenzie Town Care Centre's photo.

    The mistreatment of AB Seniors: Mckenzie Town Care Centre's photo.


    This is a photo of my Mom, Wyonne Somers one week after arriving at McKenzie Towne Care Centre in May 2013.

    The mistreatment of AB Seniors: Mckenzie Town Care Centre's photo.


    ately and ineffectively cared for. So much so, that the wounds grew to cover most of the length of her calves. My family and I were called AFTER she had not been out of bed for 4 days and was in a semi-conscious state. She arrived at hospital unconscious and in a severe state of septicemia.
    So, someone explain to me HOW could Dr. Katz make the determination that my Mom "...received appropriate care"? REALLY .... my Mom DIED Dr. Katz as a result of inappropriate and ineffective care! HOW could he state that, "I could not find any evidence of substandard care."?? Once again, Dr. Katz, my Mom DIED as a result of substandard care ... what more evidence do you need?! The Herald article stated that "Katz found that greater physician oversight would not have "changed the course" of the cases ..." In a telephone conversation I personally had with one of the physicians at McKenzie, he said to me, " ... and if we shorten your Mom's life by one or two months at this point, who cares?" GREATER PHYSICIAN OVERSIGHT?!! What about just adhering to the Hippocratic Oath and to do no harm? WHY did Dr. Katz state that "... it would be "helpful" to have a nurse with wound treatment expertise on site when bedsores don't respond to conventional treatments."??? WHAT are you talking about Dr. Katz? There WAS a wound nurse on staff at McKenzie Towne Care Centre. I met personally met her and was told by the Nurse Manager that she was "highly educated and trained"!!! McKenzie displayed a Skin Health and Wound Care Program on their website.
    Dr. Paul Katz could not have possibly come to a clear and objective conclusion when his paycheck was being provided by the very organization that hired him and who he had to find in favor of! Furthermore, his findings contradicted the multiple deficiencies uncovered by the Alberta Health Services investigation!!
    As I have said many times before in this forum, the TRUTH must be told! Those who know about the mistreatment, neglect and abuse MUST come forward and TELL THE TRUTH! Revera must be held accountable for their involvement in the mistreatment and neglect that lead to my Mom's death!
    The question is ... what legal team is brave enough, persistent enough, strong enough and skilled enough to take this on?

    Two residents of a Calgary nursing home who died last year after developing severe infections received appropriate care, according to a review commissioned by the…


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    Families of seniors banned under Trespass to Premises Act

    Published: 12 April 2015

    Friends and families of senior citizens are dealing with trespass issues in long-term care facilities

    thumbBeverley-and-Shauna-1Last year, activists criticized the government's response to the problems within the health care system, noticing the mistreatment of seniors in long-term care facilities.
    Spokesman Steve Buick for the Alberta Health Minister admits there are errors in the system.
    "The reality is that a couple of per cent of all patients who go through our health system or really any health system in Canada...will have a preventable error in their care," Buick said. "And people just don't appreciate that errors and bad outcomes are part of the business, to an extent."
    "People just don't understand that it is not realistic to expect a health system to function without problems happening, sometimes serious problems," said Buick.
    Apart from addressing complaints about the care of the elderly in long-term care facilities, there seems to be a trend toward family members and friends being issued bans based on the Trespass to Premises Act.
    The Trespass to Premises Act, broader than the Petty Trespass Act, outlaws trespassing to whoever was given notice not to trespass on a premises.

    Loved ones are banned

    Shauna McHarg was banned from visiting her friend Beverley Munroe. Dennis Dupuis was banned from visiting his mother Annie Dupuis.
    "It's the people who care, it's the family members who are, or friends, or advocates, who attend the facility and are aware of what's happening – they're not going to ban the person who attends Sunday afternoon for half an hour. It's the person who cares and is there," said Ruth Adria, the chair of the Elder Advocates of Alberta.
    Both McHarg and Dupuis did not understand why they were banned or couldn't believe the reasons for their removal.
    "It's on the statement here, I was being aggressive and verbally abusive with staff," said Dupuis. According to the statement, Dupuis was standing too close to staff.
    Dupuis said, "They gave me all these ridiculous restrictions they applied towards me about visiting my mother and everything else. And what are they trying to prove? What are they doing?"
    "And, you know, it's unfortunate this, and you don't see it at the time. Because it is a problem you're trying to get corrected, and what they're accusing you of makes it even more ridiculous," said Dupuis.
    McHarg said she didn't understand why she was restricted from seeing her friend Beverley Munro.
    "I was still allowed to visit other people, just not Beverley. And it would imply Beverley didn't want me visiting her. And she was outspoken that this was unfair."
    The reason, according to McHarg, for the restrictions and later the ban from visiting Munro was due to Munro's complaints about the care facility which was introduced at the Alberta Legislature.
    "And so Beverley and her husband and I, we all wrote to the president of Covenant Health, sayingBenthanySundanceOnTheGreen-2Sundance on the Green is a 55 plus life lease care facility located in the S.E. of Calgary. “I’m not aware, at least at Bethany, of there ever being a situation where we’ve had a stranger trespassing,” said Kristen Lawson of Bethany Care Society.

    Photo provided by Bethany Care this is unfair. There's, you know invoking the Trespass to Premise Act would imply that I'm trespassing."
    Later, Munro was moved to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton due to poor health.
    "Beverley went to the Royal Alex because she was ill and I was her contact person with the (hospital), with Beverley's permission because she was her own decision maker," said McHarg.
    "If Beverley clearly said, 'I want Shauna,' and the Royal Alex honoured that.... I mean, they were grateful to have an involved person because her husband is an older person and has health problems and he just couldn't do everything and come to all the meetings and everything. So I was her contact person and if a hospital can honour her wishes, why can't Covenant Health."
    "She since passed away, unfortunately. And after she passed away, then I got a response from Covenant Health saying, 'As this matter's no longer relevant, we'll close the file,'" said McHarg. But they never answered Beverley's complaints.
    Dupuis was upset by the result of his ban. "The damage is done. I can't get that time back that I lost with my mother, she's passed away since then," said Dupuis. "She was ten days short of her 102 birthday when she passed away."
    "This is what hurts. All that time that I could have been with her, I couldn't. They had me on a restricted visit. I could only go in a certain area. I had to have somebody bring her out and we could visit there," said Dupuis.
    "I'd like to get this cleared up. But who will do it?"

    Still not being heard

    According to the Health Quality Council of Alberta's report from April 2014, Covenant Health is a main link to the Official Administrator and "has a role in providing and/or monitoring continuing care services".
    But Rayne Kuntz, the senior advisor of media relations at Covenant Health did not know what the Trespass to Premises Act was, nor was initially aware of trespassing issues within long-term care facilities.
    Kuntz said there's a difference between restrictions and trespassing, but later wrote in an email "The damage is done. I can't get that time back that I lost with my mother, she's passed away since then."

    - Dennis Dupuis, banned from seeing his mother Annie Dupuis  interview, "The language we use is restrictions. Restrictions usually are not indefinite. A date for review is usually part of the restriction. We remain open to working with individuals to come to a resolution that is best for the resident or patient."
    Kuntz said it's rare to restrict family members from visiting, "except in cases where there are threats to a patient, resident or staff member's safety. Another example may be if the health of a resident or patient is being compromised. The situations can be very complex, the restricted person may be family, but they are not the agent or guardian of the patient or resident."
    When asked what happens when a person ignores restrictions, Kuntz said, "Well then they're in breech and they're asked to please not come at that time. Then they have to have a discussion."
    On the government side, the hope was that the issues of trespass and proper care would be addressed with the implementation of the Alberta Health Advocates Office in April, 2014.
    This office was put in place to request inspections and investigations based on the concerns of seniors and their loved ones and "refer seniors concerns and complaints to the appropriate place or places". Buick said the advocates should have a larger role, but nothing is being done to make this a reality.
    "We'd like to see the advocates have more of a role in addressing individual's concerns rather than just giving them information. That's just a change that we've talked about but haven't implemented yet."
    Multiple phone calls requesting an interview with the current Senior's Advocate, Deborah Prowse were not returned.

    The Trespass to Premise Act needs limits

    The Trespass to Premises Act states, "A trespasser is guilty of an offence whether or not damage was caused."
    "Nothing in this Act extends to a case where the trespasser acted under a fair and reasonable supposition that the trespasser had a right to do the act complained of."
    However, the Trespass to Premises Act is being questioned because friends and family visiting seniors in long-term care facilities are being handed Notices Not to Trespass.
    Each notice is up to the individual premises.
    "If a person returns to the location where they were notified with trespassing, then the police will become involved," said Corwin Odland, from the media relations unit of the Calgary Police Department.
    Bethany HarvestHills-2Bethany Harvest Hills Care Centre is situated in the N.E. of Calgary. Kristen Lawson, the director of communications and government relations at Bethany Care Society said, “ Our staff are amazing. They’re some of the most amazing people that I’ve had the privilege of ever knowing.”

    Photo provided by Bethany CareIf it seems as though that initial Trespassing Ban is unfair or unconstitutional, there is not much that can be done. The review of bans is not effective, said Adria who was also banned.
    "Essentially, once you've been banned, there is no appeal. There's nothing. So, I have documents here showing all the conversation and, you know, what was done with me, but so what? It doesn't help me," said Adria.
    As a result, Public Interest Alberta executive director Bill Moore-Kilgannon said, "They could be banned for a day, they could be banned for a year, they could be banned forever."
    In the case of Dennis Dupuis, he has been banned from all Alberta Health Service's facilities across the province.
    "Alberta Health Services has the discretionary power to enact the Trespass to Premise Act, based on specific grounds related to unacceptable uses of their property. It is an abuse of Alberta Health"They could be banned for a day, they could be banned for a year, they could be banned forever."

    - Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Public Interest Alberta executive director Services' discretionary power to permanently prohibit me from all of their facilities across Alberta based on the enactment of the Trespass to Premise Act as I did nothing wrong but advocate that my Mom's wishes are honoured," wrote Dupuis in a letter.
    Dupuis is still banned from health care facilities in Alberta despite his mother dying in 2012.
    "It's hard to believe that it's unfounded. You'd think there'd have to be something. These little examples are proof that it's unfounded. And that it's still a problem is proof that (they) don't know what to do to fix it. Unfounded (allegations have) taken on a life of (their) own to the detriment of everyone involved," said McHarg.
    Buick said there's no plan to make any changes to the issue of banning visitors because, "there's no general problem with it that we're aware of. There certainly are instances where visitors have been banned from an individual facility and those instances are very few and far between and as far as we can tell they generally have been...the visitors have been banned for good reason."
    To contact the editors responsible for this story; Jordan Kroschinsky,; Evan Manconi


    More needs to be done for abused seniors, says Alberta elders advocate

    QMI_ES_20150812CTRuth Adria, founder of the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society, looks over stacks of boxed filled with case files documenting allegations of abuse, neglect and maltreatment of Alberta's seniors in Edmonton on Aug. 10, 2015. Claire Theobald/Edmonton Sun/Postmedia Network

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    Elder advocates are calling foul on how cases of elder abuse are addressed, fearing seniors in crisis aren't being taken seriously.
    "You can abuse a senior, financially abuse them, and essentially nobody will say anything and nothing will happen," said Ruth Adria, founder of the Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society.
    Her basement is stacked high with boxes, each one filled with case files of allegations of abuse, neglect and mistreatment of Alberta's seniors.
    "Those are the horrific injustices," she said, recounting shocking cases of untreated bed sores left to fester, estates unlawfully seized through false declarations of incompetence, sexual assaults and violent crimes.
    "The whole thing is kept silent by fear," she said, documenting alleged cases on her website,
    A Statistics Canada report shows that, while rates of violence are lower among older Canadians, seniors are less likely to report abuse - the bulk of which is perpetrated in their own homes.
    Det. Dave Huggins of the Edmonton police Elder Abuse Unit - which has closed 69 cases and is actively investigating another 29 this year alone - says cases of elder abuse are complex and both victims and witnesses are reluctant to come forward.
    In cases where the perpetrator is also a senior's primary caregiver, the victim may stay silent for fear of losing their independence, alienating themselves from their family or fear that reporting the crimes will only escalate the violence.
    "If the person that is victimizing you is the same person who is looking after you, and they feel entitled to take from you, that's a really hard nut to crack,' said Huggins. "It's tough to gain that rapport and gain their trust."
    Another complicating factor is the victim's mental capacity, which can be used to discredit them - especially in cases of financial abuse, which Huggins says is the number one form of abuse his detachment deals with. In cases when a victim is also diagnosed with Alzheimer's, dementia or some other mental impairment, they may not be able to speak for themselves.
    These victims are especially vulnerable, said Huggins, because it makes them easier targets for perpetrators.
    While Huggins says investigators often hope to lay charges, in cases as complex as elder abuse files often are, it's not always so simple.
    "I've had files where I know I'm not going to lay a charge, but I'm going to go meet with that older adult and keep seeing them to allow them to feel that someone does care and that someone is willing to take the time to hear this out and find ways to minimize the risk," he said.
    The biggest obstacle in combating the issue of elder abuse, said Huggins, is societal stigma, where seniors often feel undervalued, isolated or on the peripheral of society.
    "I think there has to be a cultural shift as to how we treat older adults in our community. I think we undervalue older adults in our community, and I think this is a manifestation of that," said Huggins, saying this kind of discrimination opens the door for abuse.
    Huggins said obstacles in combating and prosecuting cases of elder abuse are similar to issues that have been overcome in other avenues of social crimes, including hate crimes, sexual assaults and domestic violence.
    In order to recreate the kind of progress seen in those areas in elder abuse, Huggins said seniors need to feel empowered and trust that the community is there to help, and interventions need to be better coordinated.
    If you or an elder in your community is being abused, call the provincial Family Violence line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 780-310-1818 for support and information.
    Types of Elder Abuse
    Physical Abuse
    This includes any kind of physical assault against a person over the age of 55 including kicking, punching, or assault with a weapon. With seniors, some types of physical abuse include intentional exposure to severe weather, physical restraint or the inappropriate administration of medication.
    Sexual Abuse
    Sexual abuse includes any forced sexual activity, whether it be perpetrated by a stranger, relative, peer or caregiver.
    Psychological Abuse
    Psychological abusers make a senior feel humiliated, isolated, and take control of a senior through intimidation and violence. This also includes cases where a senior who is still competent has their decision-making power taken fraudulently.
    Financial Abuse
    The most common type of elder abuse, financial abuse is the misuse of an elderly person's funds through force, intimidation, or fraud.
    Medication Abuse
    This is where a senior is either administered drugs inappropriately, including either withholding, over-medicating or theft of prescriptions.
    Neglect is defined as any lack of action in meeting the needs of an elderly person. It includes not providing sufficient food, clothing, shelter, medication or medical care as well as socialization. Neglect can also be unintentional, where distress is inflicted without malicious intent, or where these basic necessities are actively withheld by a caregiver.
    To report or for more information on elder abuse, contact the Seniors Protection Partnership at 780-477-2929.