IF NO INTERVENTION IS PROVIDED, THIS WOMAN WILL DIE
By Joel Schulz, Publisher and Michelle O’Keefe, Associate Publisher
This whole episode is leading me to believe that in Alberta, seniors are disposable. The woman, Ms. Patricia Riggs, is a senior living in the Silvera for Seniors independent living residence at Mountview Village on 16th Avenue NE. Before we go deeper, I will be the first to agree that she is a tenant from hell. She is addicted to alcohol, smokes in a non-smoking building, her apartment is in total disarray including the presence of human waste, and has been uncooperative with the building management. However, she is the victim physical and financial abuse by her adult son and her lifestyle and lack of cooperation is indicative of the symptoms of Executive Functioning Dementia. She also has limited mobility and relies on Handi-Bus, is oxygen dependent, and has cardio-vascular problems. She is to be thrown out on to the street with no place to go tomorrow, Friday November 24th. There is a court order to this effect. I have her consent to publish her identity.
Patricia, although not formally assessed, has been determined by our Associate Publisher, Michelle O’Keefe, to be suffering from Executive Functioning Dementia. Michelle has a Master of Science Degree in Counselling Psychology and studied cognitive behaviour as part of her graduate studies program at the University of Calgary. She is of the opinion that Ms. Riggs cannot be held responsible for her actions. Doesn’t such a person have rights and deserve compassion. Silvera does not seem to think so. On first meeting one may feel that Ms. Riggs seems lucid and understands what is happening. However, I challenge that in part because she is incapable of doing anything about it. Silvera seem oblivious to this fact.
Silvera’s Director of Service, Sarah Price, told me today that she is proceeding with the eviction and having the bailiffs throw her out on Friday. I asked for an extension so either hospitalization or assisted living can be found and she downright refused.
I have all but exhausted the resources that I thought would be available to her. I have contacted the Minister and Deputy Ministers of Health, Seniors, and Housing. None have taken an interest. I would like to say that when the PC government was in power, whenever I reached out they responded usually the next day. It has been 10 days and no response. So much for the NDP being a government with the interests with the people at heart.
City Councillor for Ward 2 is Ward Sutherland. He is on the Board of Directors of Silvera but has not yet responded to the information that I provided to him.
The Kerby Seniors Centre is partners in a shelter for abused women. However, those women cannot have disabilities. I have a problem with that. I have been running into brick walls from every level of government and agencies in assisting this woman. I guess in Alberta seniors are disposable.
This all started when the son who has been abusing her got into a fight with the management at Mountview last spring. Instead of giving him a trespass notice they chose to give her a three month eviction notice under the Residential Tenancies Act. The court upheld it.
Despite a team of social workers in Silvera’s employment, no intervention based upon her mental health needs has ever been provided. Yes she has refused but a qualified social worker would be cognizant of the fact that Executive Functioning Dementia victims actually resist and deny assistance, something I believe they do not fully understand. Ms. Riggs thinks that there is nothing wrong with her, yet when you enter her apartment, signs of human waste on the floors are present and the disarray is indicative of mental disturbance. Silvera, if they actually are “for Seniors” should be looking for alternative housing where assistance is provided. Ms. Riggs is incapable of caring for her own needs.
Mountview is unassisted living. Ms. Riggs must be in an assisted living facility and they would rather kick out instead waiting to help find her a place to live that meets her needs. Alberta has a pitifully critical shortage of assisted living facilities and Silvera is fully aware of that yet they seem to care only about their own needs and want their apartment back, even if means kicking a disabled, abused 80 year old woman with dementia on to the street.
Silvera, I am of the opinion that your behaviour in this matter is reprehensible. Sarah Price told me in an email that they are not devoid of compassion, when I challenged her of being the opposite. You decide for yourself. Is Silvera truly compassionate or are they only thinking of their own interests?