A woman in western Labrador says the region's health-care system may force her mother to be separated from her family — and the only home she's known for more than half a century.
In late July, Angela Hardy moved back to Wabush to take care of her family after her mother, Cheryl, had to be hospitalized for an infection.
After multiple bouts with the infection over the following weeks, Cheryl Hardy was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in mid-November at the hospital, where she has remained ever since. Because of the diagnosis, Angela Hardy fears the birthday she celebrated with her parents in October will be the last one her mother is aware who her daughter is.
She's also worried about how her mother will be cared for when she's discharged.
"They are going to try to medically discharge her now with basically no options," Hardy told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning on Monday.
Hardy said her mother will likely be transferred to Happy Valley-Goose Bay or Corner Brook — away from Wabush, which Cheryl Hardy has called home for over 51 years.
"So we are dealing with Alzheimer's, dementia, seniors' problems and the fact there is absolutely nothing in Labrador West for them. This isn't just learning about Alzheimer's; it is learning about a system that is so broken," she said.
The only other option for the Hardy family is to take care of Cheryl in their home in Wabush, Angela said, which is not financially viable. Cheryl requires medication for her Alzheimer's, which Angela says the family can't afford because of a lack of pharmacare coverage.
Cheryl lost her pharmacare coverage when the mining company her husband worked for in Wabush went bankrupt and he lost coverage for himself and his dependents.
This isn't just learning about Alzheimer's. It is learning about a system that is so broken. - Angela Hardy
In a statement to the CBC, regional health authority Labrador-Grenfell Health noted the area has an aging population.
"Recognizing the limited options to support healthy aging in the Labrador West area, such as seniors' housing, home care, and supportive living, Labrador-Grenfell Health has been working with community stakeholders to identify ways to best support seniors who live in this part of our region," reads the statement.
CBC News asked Health Minister John Haggie for a response but didn't receive one before publication.
More needs to be done: MHA
Labrador West NDP MHA Jordan Brown says the government needs to do more.
"We can't leave this expectation of … families and stuff being ripped apart because someone can't make money," Brown said.
He was adamant the provincial government should step in, saying the private sector won't build infrastructure for seniors if it isn't profitable.
"That's where we seem to be turning: we can't have respect and dignity for our seniors because someone can't make a buck," he said.