July 18th, 2018

Top news stories for seniors in 2017

By Gillian Slade on December 27, 2017.

Mayor Ted Clugston cuts ribbon to formally open the city's newest retirement residence in December, with Masterpiece's very first resident Margaret Clementi. Also pictured are resident Edith Giesbrecht, Sarah Garforth-Bles, Sofia Garforth-Bles, Tim Garforth-Bles, (president and CEO of Masterpiece), baby Scarlett and Maria Garforth-Bles, as well as resident Lynn Solley. --News file photo


It was a momentous year for seniors including a court decision to protect their rights.

In early 2017 the Court of Queen’s Bench agreed that the rights of seniors in Alberta are protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act.

“Our government supports Albertans of all ages and believes no one should be discriminated against because of their age,” said Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley at the time. “We thank the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society and other stakeholders for raising the importance of this issue, and we look forward to taking steps to expand the areas in which Albertans are protected from age discrimination.” The basis for the claim was that section four of the Alberta Human Rights Act violates section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Retirement facility changes

Masterpiece River Ridge retirement residence was bought by Park Place Seniors Living B.C. henceforth to be known as River Ridge Seniors Village. Masterpiece Care Corporation focused on construction of its new facility: Masterpiece Southlands Meadow seniors’ complex, 4401 Southlands Dr., that recently celebrated with an official opening gala.

Lawsuit continues

A multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the government and health authority alleges that residents of long-term care facilities are subsidizing health-care costs. Elder Advocates of Alberta Society filed the lawsuit on behalf of seniors in continuing care homes in 2005. The case was heard in Court of Queen’s Bench over several weeks in early 2017. Ruth Adria of Elder Advocates reports a decision was not expected for at least a year so we could expect a ruling in the coming months.

Dementia distress

A hospital admission to treat sepsis turned into a six-month stay for a Redcliff resident who was also diagnosed with dementia. Given a range of anti-psychotic drugs she was extremely anxious and physically restrained in a chair. One of North America’s leading educators on dementia said there are better ways to handle aggressive patients than giving anti-psychotic drugs and using physical restraints.

Tying someone up “is called illegal” and “torture,, said Teepa Snow. “We aren’t allowed to do this with any other population but we feel free to do it with dementia. You can’t do it in prisons, you can’t arbitrarily restrain somebody over a long period of time.”

Fire death

A resident in a seniors residence in Medicine Hat died as a result of injury sustained in a fire in 2017. At the time the resident had been smoking in the bathroom while using oxygen even though there is a strict no smoking policy in the residence.


In June it was revealed that EMS is responsible for transporting long-term care patients from a seniors’ residence to a medical appointment. The key point is that the individual must be in long-term care rather than being in assisted living.

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