Amy White, in her letter on age-restricted buildings, expressed viewpoints that are entrenched in the context of a valued citizen. The older citizens of Victoria are put in devalued social roles and not consistently given the support they need. Fair treatment for everybody does not mean everybody gets the same. Fair treatment means everybody gets what they need.
It is not discriminatory to provide a person with visual impairment glasses, nor is it discriminatory to provide hearing aids for those who cannot hear.
Aging is a human issue; race is not a factor, it is not about privilege or property. It is a question of human rights across the lifespan and providing the necessary supports.
Our human rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 15 establishes equality before the law for all peoples. It allows for special programs (this includes housing) to meet the needs of disadvantaged and/or disabled groups.
To confuse giving people the supports they need with providing all with the same treatment is a mistake.
We are all “temporarily abled.” It is only a matter of time before any of us develop a disability through normal aging, genetic variations in aging or simply through accident or misfortune.
Aging affects resiliency and adaptability and the ability to cope with stress. Some elders cannot cope in a living space that is noisy, or disruptive to routine. Some cannot have small children around as they tend to be unpredictable. Some cannot live around pets due to age-onset allergies.
Stress in the aged can be expressed physically. Stress can be related to strangers, emotions, animals, etc. or a combination of factors. Older people need security. Responses to situations may be affected by slower reaction times, processing time or physical agility in time and space. Individuals with age-related dementia or Alzheimer’s usually do not live in 55-plus buildings. Active self-caring or assisted living people do.
It is vital to consider all human rights before making a decision to oust our seniors and elderly from their homes.