Elders council proposed for Lambton County

Navigating Senior Care Lambton members Andrew Bolter, Margaret Bell and Arlene Patterson propose the creation of an elders council at Lambton County Council. October 2, 2019 Photo by Melanie Irwin

A local group wants to create an elders council to identify issues with seniors care in Lambton County.

Navigating Senior Care Lambton members Arlene Patterson, Margaret Bell and Andrew Bolter presented a proposal to county council in Wyoming Wednesday.

The group claims there are a number of shortfalls when it comes to seniors care in Lambton County, including, unreliable and difficult to obtain home care and a lack of family support, service promotion, transportation and hospital beds.

Patterson said the shortfalls are further amplified in rural areas.

“Seniors do not know where to go and get information, it’s not readily available to them and they don’t understand it,” said Patterson. “You can go to a website and get information, but not all of them have computers. We found in the rural areas, a great deal of isolation with seniors. They’re just cut off.”

Patterson said the needs, need to be addressed.

“Let’s get a plan in place, lets talk about what happens when you’re 85 and out in the middle of Florence. We do wait for the crisis to happen and then we’re in a panic. I think we can avoid that. I think we could help people talk about these issues and come up with a reasonable way to look at making a plan, when things start to happen.”

The group also expressed concerns about retirement and long term care homes, saying they’re expensive, full and critically understaffed.

Council has asked staff to compile an inventory of available services and report back by the end of January.

Staff have also been directed to work with the group to create a taskforce.

Councillor Margaret Bird’s motion calling for a third party review of Lambton County’s three long term care homes in Sarnia, Petrolia and Forest was tabled.