I guess a little worry in your column. I want to testify to the months spent by my mother at the CHSLD Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci, which does not look like much, but where my mother received very good care and attention. It must be said that we, her daughters, spent our days there with her on a timeshare basis. It’s not a joy, that’s for sure, but the services were well rendered and our requests were taken into account. It’s true that we noticed that few of us did it like us, unfortunately. You have to trust and be present, it’s important.

Your text touches me particularly. I am a proxy for a friend placed at the CHSLD Berthiaume du Tremblay in Montreal for several years. I consider this place a five star…but the one and only thing my friend can do on her own is breathe. There is nothing else. I’m not trivializing medical assistance in dying, but the question I ask myself: is this living? Even with impeccable care, my friend is no longer there… My partner of 48 years is starting to have neurocognitive problems. We talked about it together, he doesn’t want to find himself in my friend’s situation and he’s right. Of infinite sadness.

A family doctor for 43 years, involved in end-of-life care including medical assistance in dying for four years, I share this reflection that a colleague made to me a few years ago: “My patients with dementia, they don’t are not unhappy, it is their children, their spouse who are. Indeed, for having observed my mother and my mother-in-law in their last years on this Earth, they lived in the present, in a beautiful carelessness, the past hours were systematically erased from memory, and tomorrow had no d ‘importance. Quite the opposite of those anxious and anxious patients who are prescribed mindfulness workshops so that they learn to “live in their pants” rather than constantly having their heads elsewhere. If we could see the dementia of old age as a blessing, protecting us from the anxieties of declining life.

I have been working as a musician for two decades in CHSLDs and your judgment on these establishments seems to be inspired above all by the unfortunate headlines that held sway during the pandemic. Fortunately, they do not represent a complete and honest portrait of these living environments. You will be surprised how wrong your vision was. Your mother will be very happy there in the prosthetic wing reserved for people with dementia. Good luck !

Having worked for more than 15 years at the CHSLD l’Orchidée blanche in Vimont, Laval, it is true that we hear horror stories about CHSLDs, but there are also great stories, dedicated employees, leaders who have the well-being of their residents at heart. Good luck !

I had two experiences in CHLSD, for my mother and my mother-in-law, and I can reassure you: this is where the angels work. Despite all our apprehensions that resemble yours, our families were pleasantly surprised by the attention and delicacy towards our mothers. I wish you to live peacefully these moments.

When my 95-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, arrived at the CHSLD eight months ago, the first thing she said was, “Do I have to live that before I die? Before even entering the CHSLD, my mother would have preferred to die rather than experience a slow and cruel deterioration in her condition.

Despite her illness, she remains conscious of everything. Beyond the dilapidated installations, the noise, the cries, the smell, his life is a torture, that of the drop of water. Each day more is painful for her. Her legs are swollen, she is out of breath, moving around is a mountain, she is very tired, her body is sore. There is no hope of recovery, on the contrary. She goes from her chair to the bed, from the bed to her chair. She tells us, she goes to bed at night hoping not to wake up the next day. Death is not a taboo with us, we have often talked about it. If she had been eligible, mom would have applied for medical assistance in dying.

No one will force anyone to apply for MAID in advance or at the time. Why not let those who want to have free choice? It’s a matter of respect for everyone. The eligibility criteria are guidelines strong enough to avoid the imagined excesses.

We must improve the quality of care and services at home and in CHSLDs, access to palliative and end-of-life care, and the freedom to choose to die with dignity. One does not exclude the other.