Why does Canada need a National Seniors Strategy?

What’s the problem? Why a national strategy? What difference does it make to me, as a senior in Ontario?

Canada needs a national seniors’ strategy that encompasses all aspects of seniors care, including long-term, palliative and home care.

Canadians throughout Ontario and across the country are living under a health and community care system that was created at a time, 50 years ago, when the population was young and the health care needs were of an acute, short term nature. Today, with the oldest baby boomers well in to their 70s, the demographic picture is very different. Health care needs are chronic, and instead of acute care in hospitals, our ageing population requires in-home care and community support services, and long-term and palliative care.

Under the jurisdiction of the provinces and municipalities, adapting the health and community care system to address these needs is proving difficult. Availability and access to care is inconsistent across Ontario and throughout the country and is particularly problematic for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and for those living in rural and northern areas.

This is not just a “soft” values issue of equality of access for all Canadians.  It’s also a “hard” issue of costs to the system. Unavailability of service is ultimately very costly to us individually. Seniors who are denied access to the appropriate care or support when they need it, often end up turning to the over-burdened and expensive acute care system.  These costs are borne by us all. They also lose the ability to live full and productive lives, and thus we, as collective members of society, lose as well.

Over the years, the federal government has demonstrated that it can lead in key areas of social change, such as the delivery of health care, and the enforcement of human rights.  We need them now to set national principles and guidelines that define critical services, foster adequate provincial  funding for these services, and support and share information about innovative programs across the country so that all Canadians can benefit from new ideas and practices.

An election is a good time to let those wanting to represent us – and needing our votes – know what our interests are and to secure their commitment to act, if elected. http://bit.ly/2mgXfj0

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