Newsflash to the health bureaucracies -- we boomers are aging, albeit as gracefully as possible, but the bottom line is that we will be placing increased demands on health services.
Is the system ready for this massive intake of elderly seniors? No. I don't think so.
From the outside looking in, it would appear that unless you are at death's door or meet certain strict criteria, the help you need just isn't there. You're on your own, struggling physically and financially to cope.
And even if you are fortunate enough to access some at-home care, the workers don't always show up, leaving the bed-bound patient and family in great difficulty.
When I worked in the education system, there was a reluctance to identify a child with special educational needs, as then the schools had to do something about it, and this cost money.
Likewise, health agencies seem to have a similar "head-in-sand" approach. If we don't see it or acknowledge it, it's not happening. But guess what, it is and it's time for change because in fact by ignoring it, we put more strain on health costs.
Right now the strategy seems to be to make it as difficult as possible for families to navigate the system and find the care their loved one needs.
There are so many rules which means that the patient isn't eligible for this or doesn't qualify for that. It would seem that the appropriate services are only there when the patient is dying or perhaps when the caregiver has collapsed from exhaustion, and then instead of one sick person, there are two people needing care. Where's the sense in that?
No wonder they say that aging isn't for sissies. For caregivers, it isn't for the faint of heart either, as they have to advocate and battle to get the care and help they need for their family member and the respite they personally need to carry on.
When I worked in children's services, we came up with a wraparound program where the needs of the child were front and centre and the appropriate services were put in place rather than having the child try to fit the criteria of the different agencies and end up being shipped outside the community for care which was always more expensive and intrusive to the family.
Why can't needs of those requiring health care be the same, instead of this patchwork of options, none of which are adequate nor meet the needs of the families, as they are bounced around from one service to another, only to find they don't meet the criteria after all. How efficient is this?
Sadly I suspect it will take a few tragedies to occur before the powers-that-be get the message that this is not a "consumer/patient-friendly" system.
Right now, it is an obstacle course, with only the fittest or outspoken making it to the end. Right now, the caregivers are left to struggle, feeling no one cares and they are truly on their own. Right now, the system is broken and it is time it was fixed.
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