Two women living with disabilities in nursing homes are calling on the province to provide more age-appropriate housing alternatives.
Vicky Levack, 23, has cerebral palsy. She lives with about 40 people in the young adults wing of the Arbourstone nursing home in Halifax.
The wing includes everyone who isn’t a senior.
She is one of 127 people under the age of 50 who live in a nursing home in Nova Scotia, according to the Health Department.
Levack co-founded a group called Independence Now Nova Scotia to urge the province to provide more age-appropriate housing inside and outside nursing homes.
“Being somewhere where you’re at the beginning of your life but you’re seeing what the end is going to be like, especially if you have depression like myself, it makes me think, what’s the point?” she said.
She said she would rather be in a house with people her own age.
Health department listening
Melanie Gaunt, 43, lives in Ivany Place nursing home in Bedford because of her multiple sclerosis.
She suggested having activities offered specifically for younger people.
“Maybe an afternoon watching different YouTube videos or something, or a book club" she said.
The province's health department said it is starting to address some of these needs.
“We need to be more aware of that and what the possibilities are and get used to the fact that because you are in a nursing home doesn’t mean you stop living,” said Donna Dill of Continuing Care Evaluation. “You still want to do all the same things.”
The government does have a road map for the change but said it could take as long as 10 years to accomplish it.