LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The P.E.I. Government’s Disability Services Review Committee has scheduled public consultations at night in the middle of winter. Their decision will put the lives and health of Islanders with disabilities at risk for no reason.
One night in February, I left the house to get some supper. Winter has been particularly hard this year but the night was calm, a light snow was falling. There was just a whisp of snow on the driveway
As I stepped toward the car, my feet lost their footing. The skiff of snow turned the ice into a slick pad. I slammed down hard on the driveway, smashing my hand and forearm on the black ice.
The pain shot up my shoulder into my spine and head. My head started throbbing. The pain in my arms, shoulders, neck and head lasted for days and no pain killer could take it away.
That is winter for many people with a disability. We live in fear of slipping on ice. It can result in more than muscle pain; there are sprains and broken bones.
A 2001 U.S. study of hip fractures showed 40 per cent of the patients were not walking after six months and 25 per cent of the patients died within a year from complications.
That’s why seniors and people with disabilities don’t like getting out in the winter. It’s especially worse at night when you can’t see the ground.
The Services Review Committee has decided that 10,000 Islanders with a walking disability will have to go out into the winter night to have their voice heard. It doesn’t seem like a kind or safe thing to me, especially with this winter being so bad.
Is it necessary to have winter meetings? Did the minister ask the committee to schedule them in winter? I wonder if the premier wants seniors with disabilities out in the winter dark nights going to meetings.
We want to reform the DSP but do we have to risk our safety to do it? Why not wait until spring when it will be easier for people to get out?
Stephen Pate, Director,
PEI Disability Alert