The public discussion about how we as senior citizens can lead healthy and engaged lives continues to unfold. Care Watch Ontario has adopted several policies that we believe should guide the development and delivery of seniors’ care and support. We set out these policies in our position statements.
Funding Home and Community Care – The Elephant in the Room: Who Pays and How?
We believe that it is time for a serious conversation about funding a home and community care policy that parallels the Canada Health Act. Specifically: Who will pay for the system, how will they pay, and where will the money come from? We need to arrive at a consensus, and ensure that elected representatives (including future candidates for office) and public decision-makers know what we need and expect.
The population of senior citizens continues to grow, and needs evolve along with population changes. The health needs of older and ageing adults are increasingly linked to chronic conditions, along with multiple diagnoses and dementia, rather than strictly acute episodes. The way we fund home and community care services must evolve to reflect current and future societal needs.
Scholars, journalists, politicians, and advocacy groups have argued for various funding approaches, which we have summarized here. Considering the options, Care Watch believes that stable, designated funding through general tax revenues – though politically and often personally unpopular – is the most feasible and workable approach, given the magnitude of the funds needed for a home care and community support services system. It covers the population completely and equitably and remains true to the fundamental principles of the Canada Health Act.
It is high time to discuss how we will fund home and community care, and to arrive at a consensus which can then be implemented.
A Pragmatic Proposal
Population change in North America is a reality. Currently, fewer than 16% of Canadians are under 15 years ir age. A growing proportion of the population is reaching 65+ (15.5%) with many reaching 85+ (1.5% in 2009). It is time to look at what these changes mean for our public health care system.
Policy debates must include discussion of a stable funding plan for home care and community support services. In its Pragmatic Proposal, Care Watch proposes a scheme which is equitably funded and provides for universality of supportive home care.
Download our full proposal, A Pragmatic Proposal: Supportive home care requires DESIGNATED funding, 2011
Care Watch Principles
Driving Policy Change
“We did not lose our license for citizenship when we retired. We need to sit in the front seat when it comes to making policy decisions about seniors citizens.”
– Long-time senior citizen activist and former Care Watch vice chair, Bea Levis
Produced as part of a participatory action research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, this brochure outlines the guiding principles of Care Watch’s advocacy.
Download our principles, Driving Policy Change on Supportive Home Services for Senior Citizens, 2016