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LETTER: Local long-term care worker begs province to 'do better'

'I've been speaking up and crying for help for years in an attempt to help our seniors, to do better for the people that built the world I live in,' says employee
dementia
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BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor. Send your letters to ray@barrietoday.ca. This letter was sent in by Bradford resident Ashley Guay, on the recent reports related to long-term care facilities in the province. 
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My name is Ashley Guay and I'm a Recreation Therapist at Bradford Valley Care Community, a long-term care home in Bradford. 
 
The news reports that came out today about Long Term Care were devastating for me, as a 23-year-old who has either worked or volunteered in long-term care since I was in the 10th grade.
 
I have dedicated my life to supporting our seniors and will even be going for Masters of Gerontology in the fall at Brock University. Sadly this "news" isn't new to me.
 
I've been speaking up and crying for help for years in an attempt to help our seniors, to do better for the people that built the world I live in. I recently quit my job in retirement to take a contract with Bradford Valley, a (former) COVID positive facility that needed help. That is how dedicated I am to geriatric population.
 
The hardest part about these reports, though, is the terminology being used. We talk about wanting to do better, to provide both respect and dignity for our seniors, but the terminology does the opposite.
 
It is absolutely devastating to see politicians, news stations and reporters consistently using the word diapers. Our seniors are not babies and this word is degrading. It's time we make a societal switch and do better. I am asking the government to address this issue. That they use their power to have individuals stop using the word diapers and make the very important switch, using the word briefs instead. 
 
I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is. It goes a long way and provides our residents and loved ones with the respect they deserve, helping to ensure they are treated as the adults that they are. This will go a long way with our residents, their loved ones, the staff and society as a whole. 
 
I ask that government use their voice to help make this societal change occur or help me use my voice to spread the word. I need your support. I need you to help empower this change.
 
I'm excited to hear that changes are happening in long term care, changes we have needed for such a long time. If I can be of any help, any support, please let me know.
 
I am only 23, which means my time in long-term care has only just begun. With the average retirement age in Canada being 65, I have about 42 years left in my career. Forty-two more years of dedicating myself to our seniors. I will be one of those staff supporting you, caring for you. Please help me do better for the seniors of today, for the seniors of tomorrow and for you. 
 
I love what I do, but I'm tired of leaving work crying. Please, help me do better. 
 
Ashley Guay
Bradford
 
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