People have always provided some form of care for each other. Many, young and old, require help to manage daily tasks. This is particularly true of people with disabilities, those who are chronically ill, and senior citizens.
Historically, support from religious organizations have made it possible for people to live at home while receiving care. In Canada today, home care and community services are provided by private and non-profit agencies. These supports can include assistance with daily activities like shopping, cooking and cleaning; personal hygiene activities such as bathing; and professional help from nurses, occupational therapists and social workers.
However, these services are often not enough, and many people cannot afford supplementary supports. To compensate, over 80% of home care is provided informally by family members, friends and neighbours.
To assist caregivers and ensure that older people receive adequate hours of quality, affordable service, a number of changes at the policy level are necessary. These changes are what Care Watch advocates for.
Along with the joys of ageing come a number of challenges. As people grow older, social networks tend to fade away. Other losses occur as well. Without adequate social support it becomes difficult for senior citizens to remain safe in their homes and active in their communities.
A number of agencies and organizations offer services for older adults that promote a positive quality of life, independence, community participation and leadership. These include: adult day centres, community dining clubs, friendly visiting and security checks, home repairs, snow removal, respite care, social support groups, transportation, foot care and more.
Services and programs which emphasize social, physical, recreational, educational and leadership activities help to ward off social isolation and enhance a sense of well being.