Personal Best: What about younger veterans?

Canadian government spends millions on ad campaign for anniversary of War of 1812 while veterans home from Afghanistan are ignored

I am writing this column on Remembrance Day and listening to the ceremonies on Parliament Hill to honour our veterans in a moving, solemn tribute. Last night on a newscast I heard from another group of veterans about how our government refuses to pay for at least two-thirds of the requests made for funeral expenses, How some of them, severely disabled in the war, have been waiting months and years to have requests for bed lifts or larger doors to fit wheelchairs, or requests for therapy to be approved. Do we only honour our dead veterans? How in the world do we justify this inequity?

On that night’s newscast our prime minister, in India on a trade mission and shown visiting the Taj Mahal with his wife, justifies his having two limousines flown over for his transportation and protection and the enormous amount of money this cost, saying this was not his decision but his protection services’ choice. It was also pointed out that this government had recently spent millions of dollars in advertising money to gloat over the anniversary of the war of 1812 and the fact that we had defeated the Americans. What an insult added to their injury this must be for those men and women who served and were injured in the war in Afghanistan that we can spend this money on a long ago war and can’t even meet their needs today. Something is very wrong with this picture.

One of the things we seem to shy away from as we age is the thought of death and our final days but I think this is something we all need to deal with if we want our own choices and wishes to be observed when the time comes. The provincial government has come up with a website and publication called an Advanced Care Plan to help us if we become incapable of expressing your own decisions.

An Advance Care Plan provides a written summary or instructions to guide our chosen substitute decision maker if that person is asked by a physician or other health care provider to make a health care treatment decision on your behalf. Your Advance Care Plan can also include: a Representation Agreement where we write our instructions and name someone to make our health and personal care decisions if we become incapable; an Advance Directive with our instructions for health and personal care that are given to a health care provider, which he/she must follow directly when it speaks to the care you need at the time; an Enduring Power of Attorney, where we appoint someone to make decisions about our financial affairs, business and property. If this all seems complicated there is a Planning Guide to help us through all the steps and can be downloaded at My Voice: Expressing My Wishes for Future Health Care Treatment (PDF). I am going to try this and will follow up in another column. If you have any problems or need a paper copy call HealthLink BC, toll-free at 8-1-1 (dial 7-1-1 for deaf and hearing-impaired [TTY] assistance).

In my last column I talked about the Good Food Box and its benefit for seniors on a limited income. I am waiting to pick up my first food box later this week and it is a bit like waiting for Christmas to see what it may contain. A few seniors who have mobility problems contacted me and I just want to mention again that these boxes can be delivered for an additional $3. Call Diane at 250-306-7800 for more information,

If you have any questions or comments you can reach me at 250-542-7928 or e-mail at

Pat Black writes about a variety of issues of importance to seniors in the North Okanagan, appearing every other Sunday.