In the 1980s the health system raged with a fractious debate! What to do with Mental Hospitals? While there had been horror stories for years about abuse of ECT procedures, the Jack Nicholson film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, released in 1976, no doubt added much to the debate! The film had humorous moments but was heart-attack serious in its depiction of therapies and drug abuse. The debate ended with mental hospitals being closed in Canada with many patients then becoming residents of Level 4 facilities in the long-term care system or elsewhere.
As the debate raged on, those of us who were a bit cautious warned: “we know that some of the practices in some of the old mental hospitals left much to be desired. But full-on closure must also be coupled with seriously strengthened social systems; otherwise, many who used to be admitted to these hospitals will now be on the street…. homeless.” That caution was not heeded and for the last 30-plus years the homeless population has been increasingly numerous and visible.
John Chilibeck, in his article in Brunswick News on December 1, explained the Fraser Institute Report on New Brunswick’s budget surplus. In that report, the author said that the cost of senior health care will take the New Brunswick government from surplus to significant deficit. As a senior I did not get upset at the author! Writers are intended to report and explain facts. He did so with quality.
Who is the villain here? What is there about being a senior that causes health care costs to be incurred at 5 times that of persons 20 years of age? Am I, at 77 years of age, now a villain? Should I and my fellow seniors be demonized? Not at all. Here’s why.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.