It’s obvious to most anyone, that older adults want to stay at home and be independent for as long as possible, yet sometimes they will require external help and care in some form. If you want to consider a promising business idea, you might want to size up the opportunity represented by our aging population for doing just that – providing various forms of home-care. Why? Because the expected demand for home-care services and support will increase exponentially over the next 30 years!
Its an election year for at least two levels of government; Provincial and Municipal! The timing is perfect for a public dialogue on the future of all social policy in support of elders. The recent 2016 census profiled stark realities confronting governments in our rapidly aging society. In times past, when our demographics radically shifted, our Federal and Provincial governments responded with tangible, appropriate action and support. In the baby boom era more schools, hospitals and community parks were erected and baby bonuses were established.
As we are now into a new year, and the making of new years’ resolutions, I thought I’d invite all of us to make one more; to hold a healthy, better understanding of how great it is to be growing older! I recently read an article of a similar nature penned by a Registered Dietician. After reflecting on his humorous perception on aging, I thought I would offer my take on the subject. The truth is, old age is no laughing matter.
I take pleasure in dispelling the myth being spread by a major car insurance provider about the emerging dangers presented by a growing and greying population of Canadian drivers to all of our safety on the road. Their supposition is nothing more than unadulterated bigotry and active ageism - my opinion. In fairness to the good work that they do in other insurance related categories, I won’t name them.
While my focus in this column is upon elders, here is an issue that can and does impact people of all ages. I can’t seem to find Canadian statistics but in the US, more than 230,000 people are sent to the ER each year specifically due to an injury sustained while bathing, showering, or using the bathroom facilities, and yes, most of them are elderly!
The 2016 Census Canada data is out. Among the discoveries not often spoken about is the number of elders aging while living alone.
Every once in a while, a door-to-door or telephone scam is discovered locally; someone claiming to be a utility company requiring payment or that an award has been won; ‘just send a small administration fee and we’ll provide you with the details’! Regrettably, these scams continue to occur and regrettably, it is seniors who are often targeted and fall victim. Elders, especially those older and living alone crave human contact and are generally less skeptical of an apparent authority’s authenticity.
As Canadians, we spend a bit longer than do other nationalities hibernating during the winter and are very familiar with the need for a good spring cleaning of our homes come nicer weather. This experience is not exclusive to any age group, all of us seem to confront the need to de-clutter from time to time but when an elder has a home filled with a lifetime’s worth of stuff, the task can seem more daunting!
I recently turned 55 and hence, I officially joined those Canadians aged 55 and above categorized by demographers as ‘elders’. Not sure how I feel being referenced by that term! I mean, Canadians live, on average, well into their 80’s so who among us aged 55 to say 70 who yet enjoys good health, really feels like an ‘elder’ on the inside?
Many of us have participated in the challenging decision to register a loved one in a long term care facility. This decision is often made necessary due to the consequences of old age; that time when an aged person loses the ability to completely care for themselves in the activities of daily living; called ADL’S (Activities of daily living). Things like dressing and bathing, walking, cooking and feeding oneself. While the wait for placement is long, about 103 days, there are more than 637 facilities in Ontario to choose from.