Dear ACER-CART colleagues,
This past month while cleaning out my crawlspace, I rediscovered one of the treasured memories from my childhood. It was a well-worn set of 45 RPM records – a radio play of A Christmas Carol. Three or four times each winter I would pull them out of their tattered sleeves and, with eyes closed, listen to the familiar story. Even after we got our first TV, nothing on the screen ever matched the terrifying radio-play world of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of my imagination.
The message of A Christmas Carol is just as important today as it was when I listened to the 45s or when Charles Dickens wrote it in 1843. We’re reminded to keep the spirit of generosity, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. And nobody embraces that spirit more than those who are reading this letter – the leadership of ACER-CART leaders and the Provincial Associations.
The Association Canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants retraités – Canadian Association of Retired Teachers and each of the 13 Provincial Associations exist to promote the interests of our members by facilitating liaison, cooperation, and mutual assistance within the group.
We advocate for national policies that are necessary in building a strong social and economic fabric to respond to the needs of aging Canadians. We will continue to advocate for a National Seniors’ Strategy this year – a comprehensive plan that would ensure the well-being of our elders. But this year we want to focus on one specific aspect: the need to provide care in seniors’ own homes, or near their homes. Sometimes this is called “Aging in Place.” Canada is not doing that very well – there are 430,000 seniors in Canada with unmet home care needs.
We would all rather remain in our own homes as we age. Doing so promotes better physical, mental, and social health – plus longer life. But we recognize that we will all need some help from time to time. ACER-CART will be asking for your participation as we campaign for greater government support for seniors’ homecare.
And maybe, like the reformed Ebenezer Scrooge, governments will discover the Christmas spirit and cooperate to generously support both seniors in care and those who remain in their own communities.
On behalf of the Executive of ACER-CART, I wish you Peace, Joy and a Merry Christmas. May the New Year bring us all happiness and good health.
See Dr. Samir Sinha’s presentation to ACER-CART for more information and statistics on aging in your own home.