The 2021 Federal Election has come and gone, and it does not look like much has changed. The apparent question: Will this government act on its commitment to improve the lives of seniors?
ACER-CART will continue to advocate for a National Seniors’ Strategy; however, this year we will focus on the need to increase services to seniors at home or closer to their home.
Almost all of us want to stay in our homes as long as possible and many of us do. The benefits of aging in one’s own home and community promotes better physical, mental, and social health.
At our 2021 annual conference, Dr. Samir Sinha provided insight on how Canada spends about 30% less than the average country in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Canada spends one-third less as a percentage of the GDP on all services provided for seniors. On the other hand, Denmark spends double what Canada spends.
87% of our Seniors allocation goes to publicly funded nursing homes, leaving little to support the vast majority of our seniors who live independently. Again, compare that with Denmark, where two-thirds of their Seniors budget goes to providing home and community care. Another statistic of note according to Dr. Sinha, is the 430,000 seniors in Canada with unmet home care needs.
Maybe some of that long-term care money should be diverted to home and community care: paying for some minor renovations, helping with shopping or cleaning, facilitating a visit by a nurse once a week to monitor medications, or increasing the number of gerontologists?
Such recommendations would save money in comparison to the cost of a nursing home, and would allow seniors to stay in their familiar and comfortable own home with access to friends and family.
Isn’t that where we want to be?