Set Your Priorities


“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

~ Dr. Seuss

As we go through life, many of us may question who we are, where we came from and where it is that we’re going. Just as at the end of our life, our sense of self is what remains.

No matter what happens during your life, remember who you are, where you are and where you are going.

When your footprints are not the only ones left in the sand, you will know that you walked alongside someone.


Advocacy doesn’t end here

Excerpts taken from various correspondence:

July 27, 2016

“It has come to my attention on numerous occasions in the past month, that we seem to be having problems with the cylinders again.”

“As we all know it can get a little boring and depressing just sitting in your room looking at four walls all day and night.”

“We are not complaining about the everyday care, the staff are friendly, pleasant people but I don’t know if it is the staff rotating or new people that are not being shown how to use the machine, I can’t answer that, but something has to happen, because the oxygen is a fundamental issue for his care.”

“Maybe a solution would be to have another cylinder so that we stop running into this problem. I look forward to hearing from you in this regard soon.”

August 30, 2016

“Here I am again, except it is worse than ever before. Constantly empty tanks because nobody cares. I suggest you go past your Leader because she clearly doesn’t know how to fix this problem that now we have been going through for 5 months of trying to fix. Your facility is for caring but as they keeping proving they don’t care. May seem like nothing to all of you but it certainly is to my father and all, of his family. Talk means nothing anymore, actions speak louder. Please get this issue under control because it is really, really, sad and there is no excuse. Sincerely”

September 29, 2016

“The reason I am writing this letter, is that I am extremely concerned with the care my father is receiving.”

“It is my understanding that this facility has new staff on an ongoing basis and that personnel are not appropriately trained”

“Even if harm is not intentional, it is still the care facilities responsibility to ensure that an adequate number of people are properly trained and available to keep residents safe and well cared for.”

“My father has repeatedly expressed to both my sister and I that he does not want us to advocate on his behalf because he feels that he gets neglected.”

“He spends 75% of his time in his room, other than to go down to the dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On many occasions, he has had to ring the buzzer in order, for someone to come get him. On one occasion, he mentioned that they forgot to come and get him for lunch and when he told them, it was brought to his room. How does this happen in a facility that is responsible for the emotional, social, and mental well-being of their residents?”

October 5, 2016

“There have been numerous phone and in person discussions with staff, as we are now April to October with no resolve.”

“I understand the odd time that the cylinder is forgotten but it is continuous and the lack of care in this regards is very upsetting.”

“Any of the other residents that come into his room now and then (because they do wander around and end up in the wrong rooms) can turn his oxygen tank off and nobody would know.”

“On a couple of occasions, in the last six months, my brother and I have, on separate occasions, come to visit and the oxygen tank in the bathroom was turned off (no oxygen for our father). We had no idea for how long and neither did anybody else.”

“I’m trying to work within the system but the system doesn’t want to work with us.”

“We could be asking that they take him out of his room to participate in activities and that would be more work for the staff. As it is now, they can’t make it work for just taking him out for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner sometimes.”

“He is positive, cheerful, loving and a very thankful man. I highly doubt there is a staff member that has dealt with my father that doesn’t think he is such an easy person to be around. We presently have him on the transfer list as this location works for our family, his sisters and his great-granddaughters, which are the only people that give him joy in this very difficult time of his life.   We all know our time with him is short-lived and we just want to make the most of the time he has with all of us.”

Emails October 13th, 19th, and November 10th

We as a family are happy that our father has been moved to a Faith based facility and ALL, of his needs, most importantly from a Medical standpoint are being met. Some members of my family would have preferred that I left it alone now that my father has been placed in another facility but what I realized is that I cannot walk away.

It is about the whole picture, not just the part.

This experience was an eye opener for me personally of that which many have gone through or many will go through. There will be those who may believe that nothing will change, and its true nothing does if you don’t do anything.

This is not about who’s right and who’s wrong. There are deficiencies within the system of the people trying to work within the system. The system that is failing the very people it was put in place to serve. The health care professionals, the residents, families, society, that which WE are all a part of, the WHOLE.

Our outer world is changing. Is it for the betterment of all is the question?

I cannot answer for you but I can answer for myself. It is the reason for this article and it is the reason why I am pushing for Change.


~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is my belief that when we work towards the common good of all, then we can say that we have leadership that is built on the foundation of rights and principles of truth, dignity and respect, where everyone is a priority and people are more important than profits.

I have addressed our Premier and received a response from the Premier’s office that my correspondence has been forwarded to the Honorable Terry Lake, The Minister of Health to respond.

Solutions in my opinion: Additional education, proper training, resources – one of those being “MORE” people put into place. Another crucial aspect is that every facility, whether subsidized or private is monitored by an outside firm for the quality of care being provided. How can we say that we have Quality or Accountability when it comes to life and death matters if we are not willing to take civic responsibility?

Civic Responsibility definition: duty, obligation, responsibility – the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force;

“The success of each is dependent upon the success of the other.”

~ John D. Rockefeller, Jr

If it is not important now, when will it be?

“A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So. the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

Take care of the rocks first…. the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

~ Author Unknown

Life is for living, loving, sharing, learning, smiling, caring, forgiving, laughing, hugging, helping, dancing, wondering and healing and while WE cannot do everything, WE can do something and what WE should do and can do, by the grace of God, TOGETHER we will do.

“Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.”

~John D. Rockefeller, Jr.


Suzana Matkovic
Suzana Matkovic
SUZANA has a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks. With the guidance of a loving family, she aspired to the best job of Life: Motherhood. People that know her journey will understand how this beautiful and tragic chapter forged her resilience and tenacity to bring her passions to life by being part of the change. Upon graduation in 84, she moved into an extremely successful 30-year career. Nonetheless, she walked away from it in 2014, in order to pursue something more personally meaningful. A School of Life that enabled her to meet people of different nationalities, cultures, races, languages and outlooks, is what she sought. She is an avid advocate and volunteer motivated to help others reach their full potential by raising awareness of numerous social issues affecting many and establishing a legacy for change. Suzana’s training and experience have provided her with a unique foundation from which to produce communication that is Significant, Relevant and Actionable. Her knowledge in sales/business development and marketing started in the early 90’s where she received numerous awards for innovation, customer satisfaction and quality management. She has worked in all business categories: Local Government, Manufacturing and Distribution, Logistics and Lumber Export. Some of the more notable products and services were sold into the Environmental Energy Sector and building products that represented Structural, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical and Architectural Engineering. In addition to Marketing initiatives for various NGOs and causes near and dear to her heart. All this was accomplished by a high school graduate with determination, vision and passion. She attributes her success to many wonderful mentors throughout her personal and professional life and the inner strength God blessed her with.

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    • Thanks Rod, it’s a disservice to everyone. The residents, the families, the workers who take pride in what they do. I learned that the Seniors Advocacy Office in BC handles broader systematic recommendations and one of the recommendations is to increase the # of hours spent with each resident. The file was closed and I have requested a written response as to what steps are being taken to ensure those remaining are getting proper care.  I told them that I understand that there are shortages within the system and the pressures workers face, but proper training is fundamental to care and that those in care deserve nothing less.

  1. God bless you for your efforts for change, Suzanne Pekrul. If nobody speaks up.. the situation does not change. Our most valued citizens of our world are those that led us to this point on life. It is not to ever very forgot that they should have every thing necessary in life to live out the last golden years of life. God bless those that stand up for the equality we owe to all our elderly citizens of the world. They should never be overlooked, undercarred for, or forgotten. Especially, not neglected in the care necessary to live life to the fullest. Remember each person must travel the same road in life. Be someone that stands up for what is humane and just. One day you may need a voice!

    • Thank you Cynthia, I know where your heart is and I appreciate your comments and your influence in my life. As you know, he is thriving and happy and therefore so are we. I have spoken to the Ombudsman’s Office and followed up with the Care Office. They have 2 days to respond to my telephone call and advise if the file is still open and if I will be receiving a written response. If not, the Ombudsman’s office will get involved. I have also spoken to the Seniors Advocacy Office in BC. Depriving someone of oxygen when it fundamental to their care is a serious concern. As I had expressed to them, there are others in care who deserved a voice and my conscious will be clear if something tragic happens. I cannot stress the importance of advocacy. XO ya and Thanks again for all your support.