In recent decades Senior Canadians have been vectoring away from institution care and embracing home care or ‘aging in place’ regardless of age or ability.
‘Home’ has become the most desirable place for elder care simply because seniors are generally resistant to change, want to maintain their independence and prefer to reside in more familiar surroundings.
Many senior people rely on elderly care from their families or agencies such as Living Assistance Services. Typically, an agency such as Living Assistance Services will provide a home care worker such as a Personal Support Worker to assist with the activities of daily living. These assisted living activities include personal care assistance with bathing, dressing, hygiene and laundry, light housekeeping, joyful companionship, escorting to appointments and shopping, meal planning and preparation and medication supervision.
Statistics Canada has completed a survey and report to assist with understanding Canadians who rely on home care. A synopsis of their findings for your information provided herewith;
Living Assistance Services Home Care Facts and Stats
- 2 million Canadians, or 8% of the population aged 15 years and older, received some form of home care help to cope with a long‑term health condition, disability or aging needs.
- Seniors were the most common group of home care recipients.
- Aging needs, rather than mental illness, were the most prevalent reason among senior care receivers.
- Nearly 9 in 10 Canadians receiving home care at home relied on home care help from family and friends, with about half of these also getting help from professionals.
- Help with medical care was the most frequently reported professional service.
- The hours of care were highest for Canadians with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- Three‑quarters of care recipients indicated that they received emotional support from family and friends. Emotional support was significantly lower for those relying exclusively on home care professional help, with 54% reporting no emotional support from family and friends.
- Most care recipients (82%) were satisfied with the balance of help from family, friends and professionals. Those who were dissatisfied generally wanted more professional help.
Just over 2 million Canadians received care in 2012
8% of Canadians aged 15 years and older received some form of home care. This translates to 2.2 million Canadians.
As with previous findings, care recipients were most commonly in their later years. One‑quarter (27%) were in their mid‑70s or older, with just less than half of this group aged 85 years or above.
Most care receivers are women
The majority (56%) of care recipients were women, partly reflecting their longer life.
Mental illness was the single most common reason for care
Mental health issues were the single most common, with one in seven Canadians (14%) reporting receiving care as a result of depression, schizophrenia, or other mental illness. Other common reasons for care included accident‑related injuries (10%), aging needs (9%), cardio‑vascular disease (9%), arthritis (8%), and cancer (8%).
Men and women report similar conditions as reasons for home care
Men and women had similar reasons for receiving care.
A few gender differences were evident, yet women were more likely than men to be receiving elder care for aging needs and arthritis, both related to the greater share of women as seniors. Other gender differences in reasons for care may be explained by differences in risk of health conditions. For instance, fibromyalgia, a condition typically affecting women, was almost exclusively a reason for home care among women, while cardiovascular disease was a more common reason for home care among men.
Four in ten home care recipients report their health condition as severe
Canadians receiving home care for a long‑term health condition.
Reporting severe conditions was higher for certain health conditions, including fibromyalgia (67%), back problems (61%), arthritis (48%) and cancer (48%).
Family and friends most common source of home care support
Most times, care receivers relied on the help of family and friends (88%), though half of these care receivers also received professional Services such as Living Assistance Services (12%) and relied on this type of professional services alone.
Professional home care help more common for fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness
The use of professional services, such as Living Assistance Services, (paid workers or organizations), are influenced by an array of factors, such as need, availability of family and friend supports, cost and financial assistance.
Professional services were generally more common for care recipients with certain health conditions. Care receivers with fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and mental illness were most likely to have used professional home care services, while those with back problems were the least likely to have done so.
There was no difference in the use of home care professional services depending on the severity of the health condition. That is, care recipients with a severe or mild condition were equally as likely to receive professional help (61% versus 58%).
Types of care from family and friends differ from professional services
The types of help received from professional services were more often medical in nature. Half (49%) of those receiving professional help had help changing bandages, measuring blood pressure, performing heart monitor tests, or other medical tests or treatments. Professional help for indoor domestic tasks, such as meal preparation and laundry, was second at 30%, followed by receiving help with personal care, such as bathing, dressing or hair care (22%).
Care receivers typically receive help with many different types of activities
Receiving home care often involved help with more than one type of activity. Typically, Canadians receiving home health care help from family and friends had assistance with a median of three different activities, such as a combination of help with transportation, indoor domestic tasks, home maintenance and personal care.
Professional home care services provided help with fewer activities. Care recipients typically had help with a median of two activities from elder care professionals.
Care recipients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia received the most hours of elderly care
Most elderly care receivers have been receiving help for over a year
Emotional support not as common for those relying solely on professional home care
Over half (54%) said that they did not receive any emotional support from family and friends in the last 12 months. Just over one‑quarter (28%) reporting that their professional caregivers were a source of emotional support.
Most care receivers reported enough elderly care assistance, but not always from the source of their choice
Regardless of the source of care, most care receivers (84%) felt that they received the elderly care help they needed. At times, however, home care recipients expressed a desire for another source of care. 20% of those exclusively receiving care from family and friends would have rather had professional home care help.
Although the overall satisfaction with the balance of help from family, friends and professionals care was high (82%), care recipients who were dissatisfied stated that they would have preferred more professional home care assistance. In particular, 79% of dissatisfied care recipients said they needed more professional help.
Among those who did not request any help, 39% said that they could have received some type of home care help if they had asked. Another 33% felt that help was unlikely and 28% were unsure.
Receiving home care was a reality for 2.2 million Canadians or 8% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and over. Senior care receivers represented the largest segment of home care recipients.
In most cases, care receivers relied on the help of family and friends, though they often combined this care with help from home care professionals.
A need for greater home care professional services was mentioned for those who were dissatisfied with the balance of help from family, friends and professionals.
Information published by Stats Can (2012)
Edited by David Porter, CPCA
Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care