Canada is Not Keeping Pace with the Home and Community, and Nursing Home Care Needs of its Rapidly Ageing Population
NIA Report lays the foundation for More Responsive Long-Term Care System in Canada
TORONTO, 09/10/2019 - Canada’s provinces and territories are struggling now more than ever to meet the long-term care needs of our rapidly ageing population which includes care at home, in the community, or in designated buildings, such as nursing homes.
“Our health care system was built over 50 years ago when the average age in Canada was 27 and life expectancy was significantly lower than it is today. Our system of universal healthcare focuses on providing physician-based and acute hospital-based healthcare,” said Dr. Samir Sinha. “The system was not built to focus on the realities of today with a growing number of Canadians living into their 80’s with complex and diverse needs.”
As a result, over 430,000 adult Canadians were recently estimated to have unmet home care needs while over 40,000 Canadians are currently on waitlists for nursing homes due, in part, to a lack of available home and community-based care.
In his latest report, Enabling the Future Provision of Long-Term Care in Canada, Dr. Samir Sinha explores the current landscape of the full range of long-term care services across Canada to determine how Canadians can be best supported to age with greater quality of life, better health outcomes, and dignity through appropriate models of care and support and best practices.
Dr. Sinha’s report shows that in 2018, Canada spent $33 billion dollars on the provision of long-term care, representing 13 per cent of its overall health care budget. Despite this expenditure, Canada is still not keeping up with the care needs of an ageing population.
This is taking a toll on Canadians - 88 per cent of Canadians are worried about growing health care costs due to the ageing population, while 58 per cent believe many Canadians will delay their retirement to afford the healthcare they need to remain healthy and independent in their communities, according to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos for the Canadian Medical Association. Canadians are ready to take the issue to the ballot box in the upcoming election with 66 per cent of Canadians over age 55 reporting that they will vote for the party they believe has the best plan for the future of seniors’ health care in Canada.
The NIA report goes on to lay the foundation for more a responsive Long-Term Care System in Canada by identifying four enablers for future change. These include 1) the development of integrated person-centered systems of long-term care, 2) system sustainability through improved financial arrangements, strong workforce and enabling technologies, 3) more standardized health assessments, 4) and policy approaches.
Dr. Sinha’s report is the first in a three-part NIA Policy Series on the Future of Long-Term Care. The second report, authored by Dr. Bonnie Jeanne MacDonald, Dr. Michael Wolfson, and Dr. John Hirdes will show projected future costs of home, community, and nursing home care, and the personal tax impact to cover their associated growing expenses. The final installment of the series will bring together the NIA’s expertise in financial and health policy with the aim of presenting feasible and fiscally responsible policy scenarios that have the potential to improve quality of life for seniors in care and improve the value of services delivered. The overall goal of this series will be to help government policy and decision makers, existing care providers and members of the general public to clearly understand the options available to meet the long-term care needs for Canada’s ageing population. This report is sponsored by and in collaboration with AdvantAge Ontario, the Canadian Medical Association, Essity, and Home Instead Senior Care.
About the National Institute on Ageing (NIA)
The National Institute on Ageing is a Ryerson University think tank focused on the realities of Canada’s ageing population. We are Canada’s only think tank dedicated to policy solutions at the intersections of healthcare, financial security, and social well-being. Through our work, our mission is to enhance successful ageing across the life course and to make Canada the best place grow up and grow old.
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