Did you know there are now more seniors than children in Canada? It’s the first time in the history of the Canadian population that this has happened. This population shift will have a major impact on many aspects of society.
One of the more challenging adjustments will be the housing needs of the large elderly population. Here’s what you need to know about the increasing demand for senior home care services and other elderly care.
More Seniors Will Need Care
By 2036, there will be between 9.9 and 10.9 million seniors in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. They’ll represent around one-quarter of the country’s population. To put that number into perspective, only 14 percent of Canada’s population were seniors in 2009.
A growing senior population means more seniors will need paid or unpaid continuing care support. By 2026, there will be more than 2.4 million Canadian seniors that need this support. That’s a whopping 71 percent increase from 2011.
More seniors will be living in places like retirement homes or long-term care residences, too. In the next decade, there will be more than 610,000 seniors living in these facilities. By 2026, Canada will need to make room for another 131,000 seniors in these facilities. By 2046, an additional 240,000 spaces will be needed.
Demand is Outstripping Supply
Canada isn’t well-prepared to handle the needs of its growing senior population. Provincial governments have been investing money every year into home care services, but they haven’t kept up with the demand. The demand for senior housing is growing faster than the supply. That means there are seniors who won’t be able to access the care they need.
Seniors can be on wait lists for years to get into long term care residences. In Ontario, there were 34,312 seniors on wait lists in 2012-13. This problem is only going to get worse as demand continues to increase.
One of the problems is that not all of the people who are currently in long-term care residences need to be there. Some of the seniors in long-term care residences could have been cared for at home, if the resources were available. They take up spaces that could be used for seniors who have a greater need for long-term care.
Long-term care residences are meant for people who need round-the-clock nursing care. For example, seniors in the later stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease need the care provided in long-term care residences.
Keeping Seniors in Their Homes
Most seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age. Among people sixty-five years and older, 87 percent say they want to age in their home. By helping seniors stay in their homes, more spaces can be freed up in long term care residences for ill seniors who need the care.
Two-thirds of older adults need some assistance to live independently. They may need help with activities of daily living, like having a bath, getting dressed, going to the bathroom, or eating. The need for assistance varies based on the activity. About half of seniors can bathe on their own, while 90 percent are able to eat by themselves. If seniors get the customized care they need, they’re better equipped to stay at home and live independently.
If your elderly parents are starting to have trouble living independently, it’s time to have a conversation about senior home care. Senior home care services can provide help with personal care tasks like having a bath or getting dressed. They can also provide help with household chores, like vacuuming or doing the dishes. Senior home care services can also provide companionship, if your parents are lonely.