We're fortunate to live in an era where the average life expectancy is today over 80 years young. Unfortunately, the flip-side of Canadians living longer and generally healthier is that many older seniors experience multiple health problems -- a common yet under-recognized health state known as frailty.
It was a disappointing budget low on details for Alberta's fastest growing demographic - seniors. The percentage of seniors in Alberta is currently about 10 per cent and is estimated to double to 20 per cent by 2041. Even though Calgary is seen as a "young" city, our own demographic mix will mirror that of the province.
There are a ton of regulations involved in reverse mortgages, but they are still becoming more and more popular because frankly they can be beneficial. Like any mortgage or loan it is all situational. For some people a reverse mortgage is a great idea and maybe even their best option, but for others it is just a way to incur more debt.
There are many more election promises that will improve the quality of life for all Canadians as we age -- this election has been an embarrassment of riches in that sense. Many, like pharmacare or restarting the Health Accords, will take some time to work out so it's important to start the consultation and planning process right away.
So what are the choices for those with elderly parents? Having adult children stepped up to their responsibility to take care of the seniors at home thereby sacrificing their career, hopes and dreams, or neglecting the seniors with inadequate care compounding the physical and mental suffering of those who cared for us when we were unable to take care of ourselves? Neither choice is acceptable. We are proposing an innovative way to find a solution to this problem.
One week before my scheduled operation I was told that I had been bumped for a situation that presented a "higher level of urgency." They had just added almost eight weeks to my wait time for reasons that were opaque, at best, and without logic to me. Why did this happen? In the end, I got no real answers, only rumours about parental leave (nothing sudden or unforeseen about that) and other factors that may or may not have been part of the equation. So, beyond my personal experience, the real question is: Are Canadian wait times for hip replacement justified or could they be shortened?
The impacts of informal caregiving commitments do not remain confined to the home: they are felt in the Canadian workplace and reduce productivity. They translate into 2.2 million hours of reduced effort in the workplace every week and cause an estimated $1.3 billion productivity loss annually, says the report.
First, assuming that the baby boom is a post-war phenomenon means we jump to the wrong conclusion when guessing the cause. The baby boom was not the result of frisky soldiers returning to Canada. It was, instead, the result of the very good economic times in the period 1952 to 1965 allowing for at-home moms and large families.
Rather than placing a tax on health needs -- as income-based drug plans do -- Ontario should consider a more positive road to universal pharmacare. Specifically, it should consider tax financing a universal drug benefit program that would give non-seniors the same coverage elderly residents enjoy today.
Twenty per cent of older adults live with a mental health issue. In Calgary alone, that equates to over 21,000 older adults, with between 1,000 and 2,000 living with severe and persistent psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and delusional disorder. These figures do not take into account individuals between 45 and 65 who have lived a higher-risk lifestyle and been intermittently homeless. Such individuals age more quickly than the general population, and often present as "functionally geriatric" well before the age of 65.
With the holidays just around the corner, this got me thinking about the issue of "frustration-free" packaging. Not only is complex wrapping simply no fun for the kids receiving gifts packaged in such a manner, the fact is it's a much larger issue for the most rapidly growing segment of our population -- older adults.
I heard a story this week about a civics lesson. It did not take place in a high school. It was a lesson both learned and taught by some elderly newcomers who were participants in a civic awareness project. Along with learning to speak English and finding out about the systems and the laws of Canada, these folks are being challenged to engage with their new communities.