Rethinking long-term care for seniors in Canada

  • National Newswatch

Most people hope to be able to age in their own home, but seniors and their families don't always have that choice. Four health care policy experts insist that long term care for seniors in Canada needs to be taken more seriously and better reflect the needs and preferences of seniors.Dr. Ivy Bourgeault, Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, Dr. Neena Chappell and Dr. Michel Grignon believe it is time to rethink the philosophy behind long-term care in Canada.“People got this idea that you retire at the age of 65, and then if you are unable to live independently in your home, the only route is to put you in a long-term care facility,” says Dr. Tamblyn. But why does this have to be the only choice, she asks?This is why home care has to become a priority and health care professionals and politicians need to think outside the box and look to innovative projects: everything from companion robots, to smart clothing that can recognize if you have fallen, to appliances that turn off by themselves and doctors using Skype to check up on patients.The aging baby-boomer generation will not be willing to live in institutions that are akin to hospitals -- politicians and the people working in senior homes need to listen and rethink the way seniors are cared for. Ivy Bourgeault is a Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Health Human Resource Policy which is jointly funded by Health Canada.Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, is a Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University.Dr. Michel Grignon is an Associate Professor with the Departments of Economics and Health, Aging & Society at McMaster University, and Director of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA).Neena L. Chappell, PhD, FRSC, holds a Canada Research Chair in Social Gerontology and is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Victoria.Mélanie Meloche-Holubowski, is a journalist intern at and journalist with Radio-Canada.