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Half a Century of Deadly Senior Neglect

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In December 2004 at the Jubilee Lodge Nursing Home, Edmonton,
Jenny Nelson, an alzheimer patient was placed in a bath chair
and slowly lowered into a tub of scalding hot water. She died.

In December 2020, at the Cedars Villa Nursing Home, Calgary,
on a cold wintry night, windchill -16,
a 91 year old dementia patient from a locked unit was found,
after some hours outside the building, in the snow.
She died.

Is there a parallel here?

Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO Alberta Health Services
Edmonton, AB.

Honourable Mr. Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General,
Alberta Justice

Ms. Kim Goddard, Assistant Deputy Minister
Alberta Crown Prosecution Service.

Calgary, Chief of Police, Constable Mark Neufeld
Calgary Police Service, Calgary, AB.

This letter was also provided to MLA David Shepherd,
NDP Health Critic. His office forwarded the letter
to MLA Lori Sigurdson, Senior’s Critic.

Deadly neglect Millrise Seniors Village, Calgary, AB
Deadly neglect Cedars Villa, Calgary, AB.

It is now many months since Millrise Seniors Village, long term care residents
were found in their beds, moribund without food and water

and a 91 year old dementia patient was found outdoors in the courtyard
of Cedars Villa in blowing snow, wind chill -16.

Has anyone been held accountable?

We submit that for decades there has been failure to hold accountable
those who allow and perpetrate harm against the elderly.

Elderly crime victims have been denied justice.

It has been ever thus and with full knowledge the powers
that be, have allowed it.

1980 – 1982 was a time of public outrage in regard to reported neglect
and abuse in Alberta’s nursing homes.

It was the time of the Dr. Henry Hyde Alberta Nursing Home Review Panel
March 1982, during which seven persons from across the province,
travelled across the province for a full year in order to review nursing homes.

It also spawned the August 1982 Special Report of the Ombudsman, Ministerial
Order, Randall Ivany
, Re: Alberta Hospital.

Also exposes` in the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald cited
“Nursing homes violating rules”, Nursing homes below national standard”,
”Seniors abused in hospital”,

“Elderly male patients at Alberta Hospital – kneed in the groin, kicked and slapped”.

“The issue of nursing homes is by no means a new one. In the last 10 years,
the government has ignored numerous reports, including its own- documenting
drug over-use, lack of rehabilitation and recreation programs –
staff training and a lack of staff”
. –
Helen Melnyk – Edmonton Journal – February 28, 1981.

The public awareness during the 80’s generated much handwringing, posturing,
and the production of massive reports
however no charges were laid against the perpetrators of the sometimes
deadly abuse. No one was held accountable.

In 1981, the Edmonton Journal, citing abuse and neglect by the Calgary
nursing home Cedars Villa, published that the parent company, Villacentres,
(now Extendicare) grossed more than 23 million-
more than half its’ revenues
from its’ nursing homes in 1979.

The 1982 Ombudsman Report cites – Page # 20 – as follows-

Employee # 1
“The allegations relied upon by the Department include slapping patients’ heads and faces, kicking or kneeing patients in the groin, throwing coffee and water in the faces of patients,
kicking a patient and then dragging him along the floor, twisting the arms of patients, throwing patients to the floor, slamming a table into a patients stomach and stepping on a patient’s head.
There were also allegations that this employee was verbally abusive to some patients, calling them “idiots”and “fools”, using offensive language and telling one patient that his wife was going
to be in a sexual encounter with another man.”

No accountability, no charges laid.

For half a century, there has been known abuse, violence and deadly neglect
of the elderly and for half a century accountability failed.

One of the dire consequences of failed accountability has been the loud,
clear message
to nursing home personnel, administrators, government personnel
and facility owners that should it be found that they abused, neglected an
elder or caused deadly harm, not to worry, it is unlikely that there will be

Failed accountability has spawned repeat offences.

Failed accountability has spawned intentional, criminal assaults.

Finally. it has now become public knowledge that across the province,
those who breached public health directives are being held accountable,
fines issued, charges laid, arrests made, offenders jailed.

It is time that those who mistreat the voiceless elderly also be held

accountable, fines issued, charges laid, arrests made, offenders jailed.

A just society must guarantee equity and justice for all its’ citizens.

We await your response.

Thank you

Respectfully submitted,

Yours truly

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society (1992)