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Neglect at the Youville Home, St. Albert

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My parents were residents at Youville Home St. Albert Alberta, commencing with B. in June 2001 followed by G. in May 2002. B. passed in October 2004 followed by G. in July 2007.
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During their residency the living conditions were deplorable. They were housed two in a room which was 10′ x 20′ approx. with minimal closet space and a toilet. The sink was in the room itself. This in a building that in 2002 was deemed not fit for habitation with the announcement of a replacement building commencing in 2003 for completion in 2005 with single occupancy or double occupancy 2.5 times the square footage of their current space by law.

The building they were in was to be demolished and when I suggested renovation of same to Capital Health in 2003 I was told the building was beyond refurbishment and had to be torn down.

In 2003 Capital Health increased the fees approx. 42% from approx $950 per month each to $1350 each. This for occupancy that was contrary to the law in size and classified as virtually condemned. Consider also that Youville was 60 years old should have had no debt on the building therefore other than operating costs (simple to budget) there was no need to increase the fees.

Again, I argued the rational with Capital Health who was not receptive or sympathetic to my parents condition. My father requested I back off for fear of reprisal.

In 2004 when Youville announced postponement of the new building occupancy to 2006 I did further research into the whole “new building project” (as a 3 story frame building should be built in 18 months max) and determined that the Grey Nuns who were still holding themselves out to be the principals of Youville to the public and the residents had actually sold their interest in Youville and were just a front for fund raising purposes. Additionally I was able to determine that the developer had inaccurately costed the project and until further equity was raised financing was halted by the Bank. (I am a 40 year banker who finances residential high rise developments in Vancouver.)

I additionally heard via my connections in the development business that the the bump in fees for residents at Youville was to assist in capitalizing the new building project shortfall via Capital Health guarantees etc requiring increased cash flow to support project viability.

For two years my mother was told the new building was coming by spring of 2005. Residents were shown a mock up at Youville and when the delay was announced in 2004 my mother gave up as that is what she was looking forward to.

When mom passed dad was double bunked in the same room with a resident who had Alzheimer’s and could not speak or even go to the washroom, relieving himself on the floor which was not attended to for lengthy periods leaving my father in an anxious state constantly at 92 yrs old. This went on for 3 years as my father would not allow me to initiate action against Youville and my requests to administration fell on deaf ears.

The Canadian prison system doesn’t treat its mass murders as cruelly and inhumanly as the elderly. All the while charging an inflated fee to support a developer who could not fulfill his bid obligation.

The Elderly in our society today are generally treated as cash cows by government and long term institutions.

For four years until my father moved into the new building he lived in these inhumane conditions while paying usurious fees living in a province with surpluses in government revenue and a multi dollar Heritage Fund. Absolutely disgusting! The Province, Grey Nuns etc. should be ashamed of the way they deal with the most vulnerable in society at what is supposed to be a relaxing time of their life.

For the years spent at Youville my parents had to deal with understaffing waiting to get to the bathroom then leaving them on the toilet for lengthy periods while some other emergency was dealt with. My father who 85 lbs in the last years of his life had to wait for a hoist which they only had one in his wing. The care aids were no longer allowed to put him on a toilet without its use. Also the doctor (Clarke) assigned to the Home would visit rarely and if there was a problem would take days to respond.

In conclusion the Province should not only be liable for returning the excess fees,there should be punitive damages and an inquiry into how the citizens that sacrificed to build such a wealthy province are mistreated and the misrepresentation and collusion between government and its private enterprise partners as it seems that the older you get the more expendable you are as the care home “FTE” productivity ratio ( controllable expense) diminishes the more time spent with the resident affecting the bottom line and apparently that appears to be unacceptable in this greed driven environment.

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