EMC (Ottawa East)
Watson visit doesn't overshadow senior's message
By James Rubec
EMC News - Theresa Thompson, an 85-year-old Ottawa resident spent Friday, Oct. 3, at the Chateau Laurier. She invited mayoral candidate Jim Watson to lunch at Wilfred's so that she could share some of the issues that she lives through daily.
"My husband is legally blind, and has diabetes. I'm his primary caregiver," said Ms. Thompson. "I've been caring for him full-time now for the past six years."
Ms. Thompson, fiercely independent and spry, wore a fine blue dress to the historic downtown hotel. "A nurse from Bayshore Home Health comes in twice a week but the city doesn't make it easy for them."
Recently, one of the nurses that comes to Ms. Thompson's apartment received a hefty parking ticket while in front of the building.
"Thing is, I had gone downtown and picked up a nurse parking pass, and I had given it to her. The pass is good for four hours, anywhere, but she still got the ticket," said Ms. Thompson, who lives in Ottawa's west end.
For Ms. Thompson, going downtown isn't as easy as she makes it sound. It takes her more than an hour each way, and she needs to take two buses to get to City Hall.
"It takes up half my day every time I need to go and get one of these passes, I don't understand why I can't just call someone, and have a pass renewed. My husband has been blind now since 1983, and seriously ill for the past six years, why do I have to prove this over and over again?" Ms. Thompson asked.
Mr. Thompson is a brittle diabetic. His blood sugar fluctuates rapidly and he needs around the clock care.
Whenever Ms. Thompson needs to travel downtown, she needs to pay for a nurse to come and look after her husband. The disruption of having to renew a parking pass even once a year is quite jarring.
Fortunately for the nurse who received the parking ticket, Ms. Thompson called her councillor, Diane Deans, and the ticket was resolved.
Ms. Thompson relayed these stories and others to Mr. Watson over a lunch that was paid for by Bayshore Home Health.
Last June, the House of Commons passed a bill to introduce the first annual National Seniors' Day. It will be celebrated every year on Oct. 1st, coinciding with the International Day of Older Persons. The new day is a way to celebrate the contributions Canada's seniors make to their families, communities, workplaces and society.
"The number of senior citizens will grow significantly in our city", said Mr. Watson "Those 65 and over will double from 12% to over 24% in the next few decades, according to City of Ottawa projections."
Of all the recent problems Ms. Thompson conveyed, last winter's bus strike upset her the most.
"Organizing my life is hard enough when I can rely on transit service. The strike made my life almost impossible. I don't ever want that to happen again," she said.