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Seniors for Social Action

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Rest in Peace Sparky (Terri) Johnson

SSAO is devastated at the tragic loss of another of our core members - Sparky (Terri) Johnson.  Sparky was a kind, compassionate woman for whom the fight for social justice for older adults in long-term care facilities was her life's work.  She was determined to advocate for alternatives to these institutions, and to stop the neglect and abuse occurring in them.  Her dedication will be forever remembered by all of us.

Sparky, an Indigenous woman, had strong spiritual beliefs about her path in life that required defense of those who suffered.  A stroke survivor herself, she was a role model for many.

 

Sparky was the victim of a homicide and was found in North Pickering.  Her room mate has confessed to her murder.  It is heartbreaking that she died so tragically.

Recently Released

Essays on Aging in Place: A Guide for Developing Good Policy and Practice, Especially for People Who Have an Intellectual or Developmental Disability is a new e book released by Seniors for Social Action Ontario (SSAO) and Community Living Ontario (CLO). Twenty short essays highlight the path forward to reform elder care and not just for those who have a disability, but for everyone who needs assistance as they age.
 

The Foreword by Catharine Frazee, former Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, is a searing indictment of our current institutional system of long term care. The Afterword invites the readers’ engagement and action in the effort to reform a very broken elder care system in a more person directed manner as many of the publication’s contributors describe.

 

Douglas Cartan

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Rest In Peace Don Weitz, 1930 - 2021
 

We are all saddened today as we mourn the loss of another co-founder of Seniors For Social Action Ontario (SSAO), Don Weitz.

Don was a long time activist for the rights of psychiatric survivors, and was often seen at demonstrations protesting everything from racism to supporting the Mother's Day March for people with developmental disabilities.

He was an eloquent writer and street poet as well as a significant support to many people struggling with homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues.

With SSAO he offered an important voice concerning the over use of psychotropic medications in long term care facilities, and the treatment of individuals with psychiatric disabilities living there.  He was a strong advocate against institutionalization because of his first hand knowledge of institutional abuses and his own mistreatment.

Don's was not an easy life.  His own personal experience of tragedy, discrimination, and oppression may have overwhelmed someone with a lesser spirit, but Don pressed on, speaking out about the things that mattered to his last days.

His strong, unwavering voice and kind heart will be greatly missed by those of us who knew him for decades.

 

Rest in peace, Don.  Yours was a meaningful life well lived.

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Rest In Peace Kay Wigle 1953 - 2021

Kay Wigle was one of those special people who you don't forget. Her life was dedicated to others and to the relentless pursuit of justice for people with disabilities and older adults.  She was a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a good friend to many, an advocate, a teacher, a brilliant communicator, and a caring, compassionate, and truly decent person.

All of us at Seniors For Social Action Ontario miss her terribly.

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"Millions of older people around the globe experience human rights violations every year, ranging from age-based discrimination and social and political exclusion, to abuses in nursing facilities, neglect in refugee camps, and barriers to healthcare and other essential services.  Most of these abuses go undocumented and those responsible not held to account.  COVID-19 has exposed the dangerous price of ignoring the rights

of older people"

Human Rights Watch, 2021

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