When World War II
veteran Dr. Robert Young watches a Remembrance Day ceremony on
television on Sunday, he will feel nostalgic about lost friends and
sacrifices made – but he will also feel a little forgotten.
are going to take away my scooter," said the 86-year-old, referring to
Veterans Affairs Canada, the agency that has provided him with his means
of getting around for the past five years.
he added: "... Lest we forget, lest forgotten."
Unable to walk, the retired Etobicoke chiropractor who was a leading
aircraftman from 1942 to 1945, said he has been declared a "dangerous
driver" and will be stripped of his electric scooter.
said he is going to have to make do with a manual wheelchair or buy his
the scooter has weathered a few scratches and paint chips, but Young
said the minor damage can be chalked up to accessibility issues. When he
goes out, some stores don't have automatic doors on bathrooms and in
order to open the doors, he has to bump them with his scooter.
say I'm dangerous, but I've never hit anything," Young said.
``They think I should get a psychiatric assessment," he added. "But it's
money. Veterans Affairs is trying to save money."
Although familiar with Young's case, Stephen Little, a district director
with Veterans Affairs Canada, said he could not speak specifically about
the case because of privacy issues.
we give out equipment as part of benefits to veterans, we have a
responsibility to make sure they can use it properly," said Little.
we give a veteran equipment, it comes with some criteria that says it
has to be safely operated in order to protect the veteran."
any time something like a scooter is taken away, Little said, Veterans
Affairs always takes steps to provide alternatives like increasing
"These are not decisions that are made lightly," he said.
"These are always difficult circumstances."
Speaking generally, Little said that in some circumstances a veteran is
in denial about his abilities.
living on his own, in a modest bungalow just blocks from the office
where he practised for 53 years, Young said he doesn't have the arm
strength to wheel himself around any more.
can't expect my housekeeper to do it," he said.
I don't want to lose her. She has already hurt herself lifting me. She
can't do the heavy stuff."
said his housekeeper comes into his home each day and will take him out
shopping because he needs help to do that.
also acknowledges there was some damage in his house from the scooter,
but explained the door frame is barely wide enough for the scooter.
week, a team of occupational therapists hired by Veterans Affairs came
to his home.
came the other day and they had me drive it around," Young said.
gave me a test, and with all those women around, I was having a ball. I
never had so much attention in all my life. I didn't know they were
going to send me down the river."
native of Toronto, Young suffered a back injury while he was with the
said he broke his tailbone and suffered a wound to his back that still
requires medical attention to this day.
nurse comes into his home weekly to change a dressing on his back, he
back injury initially left him unable to walk, but a fighter pilot who
was a chiropractor gave him a treatment.
weeks later, I could walk like anyone else. That's why I went on to be a
chiropractor," Young said.
left with only a manual wheelchair, Young said he will be limited in his
ability to leave his house.
is not practical to call your housekeeper every time you want to move
around," he said.
veteran said he needs a scooter to keep some independence.
know, I had seven of my buddies die this summer," he said.
86, when you hit 86 you know you're on your way down. I'm not well, but
I'm still kicking."