In an effort to determine how the nation can best serve its senior population, Canada’s Minister of Older adults Filomena Tassi has been travelling across the country to meet with various citizens, families and organizations. The purpose of her tour is to get in touch with the people and better understand what the most pressing concerns are for older adults and their families.
Isolation is a Primary Focus
The issue of isolation is one that Tassi heard from several provinces. While this is a potential issue year-round, it becomes more pronounced during the winter months because of inclement weather and holiday gatherings.
Some provinces have taken initiative to introduce programs that help to keep older adults involved in the community, but Tassi believes the government should do more. Because this is an issue that affects a significant amount of the population, she says it is on the government’s radar as a problem to be addressed.
It’s important to remember that many older adults do not want to feel like a burden to their families or communities, so they may not bring up topics of loneliness or isolation.
Older Adults Need Appropriate Care
Another issue she noted is that many older adults are not receiving an appropriate level of care. In some cases, there are older adults who should be cared for at home or should be living in a care facility, but a shortage of resources means that they instead end up staying in the hospital.
Unnecessary hospital stays can negatively impact a senior’s quality of life, and they also place a burden on families and the healthcare system as a whole. Tassi believes that better collaboration between provincial governments is a vital step in making sure that the funds allocated for senior care are being put to the best possible use.
Housing is Another Issue
In 2016, the government earmarked $200 million to build approximately 6,000 housing units for older adults. This is in addition to the $40 billion fund for the National Housing Strategy. Many older adults either cannot afford to maintain their old homes or simply can’t live safely in them, so it’s important for them to have options for affordable, available housing in their twilight years.
Tassi strongly encourages those in need to apply for funding and assistance under these programs. She says that she wants older adults to be able to look forward to their aging years, and she believes that providing a manageable, affordable living space is an important step for that.
Now that the government has noted the issues of isolation, care and housing, they can take the appropriate next steps to securing the future for Canada’s older adults.