Dr. Gerard Losier, as he’s done many times in the past, is once again putting his money where his mouth is in order to improve the delivery of health care in the Miramichi region.
But he caught the roughly 1,000 people who turned out to the Miramichi Agricultural Exhibition Centre for his public forum on nursing home infrastructure by surprise on Sunday when another novelty-size cheque was brought out from behind the curtain.
The doctor, who specializes in hospital care and runs a busy family practice, said he thought long and hard about this one.
And after noticing a glaring absence of any specialty geriatric medicine being practised locally, despite the lopsided number of senior citizens in the Miramichi region compared to urban centres in the south, Losier said he felt it was time something was done about it.
Bearing a cheque for $500,000 made out to the “citizens of Miramichi,” Losier made the first move, explaining the money was being directed toward the establishment of the city’s first ever geriatric clinic, something he says is desperately needed.
“The Miramichi has no proper geriatric service,” Losier said. “That means, there’s no specialist in geriatrics that is here on a full-time basis.”
Of the 15 doctors in New Brunswick who specialize in treating the elderly, none are based full-time outside Moncton, Saint John or Fredericton.
Losier said that’s extremely troubling, considering the north of the province is aging at a much faster rate than the south.
Citing government statistics, he said roughly 14 per cent of New Brunswickers are now over the age of 65, but the rate jumps to about 19 per cent in the north, which includes the Miramichi.
Looking ahead 10 years, Losier said, the proportion of seniors in New Brunswick is expected to reach about 25 per cent, but it will likely be 30 to 35 per cent in the Miramichi region.
The continuing loss of young people to other parts of the province and Canada because of diminished job opportunities and, in Miramichi’s case, the decision by officials years ago to promote the city as a retirement destination have all played a role, he said.
At this point, Losier said, the looming demographic tidal wave is unavoidable and if Miramichi seniors are going to be provided the proper care, it’s only logical the city be properly equipped to cope.
“That’s a shocking statistic,” he said. “So all of the dementia patients in our area are not being treated appropriately or getting intimate consults, and yet, the south of the province seems to be dominating,.”
Losier said he received approvals in December to move forward with helping lay the foundation for the new clinic.
The next step would be to recruit a full-time specialist to oversee o
perations at the clinic and provide seniors with the kind of care that has been lacking.
And, to the team of government MLAs who were in attendance, Losier delivered a clear message before inviting his wife, Judy, and sons Evan and Jantzen to the stage to make the formal presentation.
“I’m demanding that our MLAs say the next gerontologist hired in this province has to come to the Miramichi,” he said.
This is just the latest example in a long list of philanthropic activity the Losier family has become known for in the community.
Article Credit: KRIS MCDAVID
Region-7 welcomes Geriatrician Dr. Ben Glickstein
Getting to know Dr. Glickstein;
“I trained at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London School of medicine in London, England. After graduating Medical School in 2006, I completed my Junior and Senior House Officer years.
During this time I became fascinated by geriatric medicine and entered residency, in general internal and geriatric medicine in 2009.
I spent time working as part of the general medical team in many different hospitals around the city. I was attached to internal medicine specialists and geriatricians who helped me to acquire the breadth of experience needed to work as a geriatrician.
I love being a medical generalist in the hospital. I enjoy working as part of a multidisciplinary team to develop effective care plans for frail patients. I have developed an interest in Movement disorders, and have developed a movement disorders service in the hospital to help people affected by Parkinson’s and other movement disorders.
I met my beautiful wife, Carly, in 2009, while she was working to support the educational and emotional needs of young carers in London. We had our first child, Imogen in 2010, and are now lucky enough to have two more children, Sam and Josh.
After working for 2 years in a busy central London hospital, I was keen to move somewhere I could spend more time with my patients and family.
Miramichi hospital invited us to come and visit in May 2017 and we were all struck by how welcoming and warm everyone was. Since moving here, so many people have gone out of their way to help us feel welcome and settle in. We are very grateful.
We have enjoyed becoming part of the community and I am grateful to have the ability to give back in some small way. It has been exciting to be part of the geriatric clinic development from the beginning. I am honoured to help it grow in order to better serve Miramichi’s elders.”
Miramichi Region 7 Hospital is most fortunate to have this specialist. He and his family bring their enthusiasm and positivity to our community. As a city with a largely aged population, Dr. Glickstein is very busy in his practice. We are eager to have our Dept of Health officially open this beautiful clinic where a proper name will be announced in the near future.