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Friday, 7 November 2014

Will You Still Feed Me When I'm 84?

When hospitals complain about seniors in Canada blocking beds that are needed for active treatment we should be asking some questions. Why are these people not moving on to the next level of care? Could they not go home and live there  with supports in the community?

That is what we are told is the next logical step. I would say that the reason it does not happen is that there are no suitable supports or places for them to go and still receive the care that they need. I read an article available at the Canadian Healthcare Network that was written by the president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Dr Chris Simpson and Canada  Newswire that says "many of the services that should be available to seniors just aren’t. Long-term care (LTC) facilities aren’t being built, adequate home and community support isn’t being funded and hospitals are filled with older Canadians who should be elsewhere but have no place to go."

The fact that we are having problems now is rather alarming. The oldest baby boomer who we hear so much about is only 68 at the most. In fact if you take 1950 as the start of the generation the oldest are 64 and very few are in need of long term care yet.

I can tell you from my own experience that when my mother needed a higher level of care in the past few years we had to wait over two months to even get an appointment with the gatekeeper Community Care Access Center (CCAC) so that we could discuss initiating an application. After that a lot of phone tag was involved spread over weeks and the wait for placement was over a year.

Something is going to go very wrong if we proceed in the same way over the coming years. I would like to see a way for seniors to organize their own co-operative forms of living. In fact this is happening in some places already in an informal way.

Maybe the government could consider establishing senior condos where  seniors could buy in and maintenance fees would also cover a minimal level of care. These would be not for profit condominium corporations with a specialized purpose. That would save us from the rapacious clutches of the proliferating for-profit "retirement residences."

Very Sad Cognitive Corner in an Alzheimer's Ward

On a recent webinar I asked a question about staffing levels in for-profit homes and whether it affected patient safety. It was like a rocket went off, as the participant who had been CEO of one of these corporations said in no uncertain terms that this was a total "red herring" at least twice, maybe three times. I would invite you to do your own research among families and residents about staffing levels. Don't try to ask the staff though. If they talk they may be fired and they don't want to be jobless even though these are not regular full time jobs with guaranteed hours.

There are many reason for the  40% annual staff turnover rate in these "homes away from home" that account for resident complaints about seeing so many strangers.  

Below is the way I prefer to age. This is my grandfather and grandmother. They spent their lives in their home.



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