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Letter to the editor: Cassellholme employee speaks out

I love Cassellholme with all my heart, and as my father did 42 years ago, I have dedicated my life and passion to it
20201111 welcome to cassellholme sign turl

To my comrades, neighbours, to the sandwich generation, and to the children in school, to each and every one of us, we all are affected. 

We all love somebody in long-term care or know someone who is steadily requiring habitual professional care. 

When the extent of the care gets too great, or the equipment needed to assist your loved one at home, too radical the difficult choice of long-term care

often unfortunately occurs.

I work in such an environment, at Cassellholme, and have so since 1999. In fact, I kind of grew up there.

When I was only three weeks old my father started working there and, well let's just say, he took a shine to it and dedicated his life and passion.

I remember as a kid the entire main hall and all the hallways were carpeted, we didn't know then that carpeting in that type of setting was the wrong choice but we have since learned.

Similar situations exist with many little things that were never thought about back then.

There are many new regulations now that challenge our building, we all know that, but I want to tell you what I see.  

I see the size of wheelchairs getting bigger. It makes sense that if grandma is going to be spending a lot of time in it, to make it a Cadillac.

My mother lived in a gorgeous long-term care facility in Renfrew for 5 years. After a debilitating stroke, my stepfather got her a chair built for comfort. The problem we are having is that some chairs are too wide for bathroom doorways, there was no reason in the 1960s to think to make them wider. 

Then comes the question of where do you put them when they are not in use? The answer then becomes that the only place for them is the hallways, I mean if you have ever been in a resident room you would know that the minimum amount of furniture allowed is already taking most of grandma's half of the room.

Problem solved then right? The chair is in the hallway, well yes and no, many residents for many different reasons wander. Not all who wander are lost, true, but the wandering happens and now is occurring with obstructions.

I see our sprinklers built in closets, Ya I said it in closets, baffling but true. We need it updated. You need it updated.

There were many departments that did not exist when the building was built. One of the most important aspects of long-term care is activities. They keep the residents' minds and bodies active. They need space to do such activities on each unit and a healthy space for building-wide events, pre and post-pandemic. The residents are often enjoying these important activities in dining rooms that haven't yet been totally cleaned because, well, there are 9 dining rooms. They deserve a room dedicated to them and the enrichment of their lives.

Not to mention that these girls need offices to create the programs they run and guess what? Every extra closet we have is already full with a desk and computer. Did he say that they are preparing their programs in a closet? Sadly I did. 

There is a lot going on right now about the re-development. It is a lot of money, and I am not going to participate in anything other than the opportunity to let you, the public, know that we at Cassellholme, that the residents of Cassellholme of the present, and us of the future who may one day be in the same vulnerable position, need this by all means. Whether it increases our taxes or not.

I love Cassellholme with all my heart, and as my father did 42 years ago, I have dedicated my life and passion to it.

I hope this tiny bit of insight has helped you see the situation differently than from the point of view of politicians, and through the eyes of a concerned worker and friend of the greatest generation.

Brent Giroux 

North Bay