Several months ago I blogged about the need for sprinkler systems in retirement and long-term care homes in the province. It is hard to disagree with this position until you start looking at the cost of retro-fitting very old facilities (which many long-term care homes are). Managing this cost has provided a ready excuse for not taking action, but really, is this defensible?
So it was wonderful to hear the Ontario Premier’s announcement last week that the government will mandate sprinkler systems in all long-term care homes regardless of the age of the building. As usual, the devil will be in the details of this commitment, but the signal it sends is important – our seniors are valued members of our communities and the value of their lives shouldn’t be measured against the cost of a sprinkler system.
Along with the promise of more physiotherapy services to support seniors to remain active and mobile (also announced last week), and the recent Seniors’ Strategy that contains many ideas to ensure that older citizens can live safe, secure and fulfilling lives, Ontario may well become an excellent place to grow old.
We should all be very happy about this; many of us are closer to needing these services and supports than we like to admit.