The pandemic has been difficult – to say the least – and especially so for seniors. The one good thing that has come from the COVID-19 crisis is that it has opened the conversation about aging in place.
More and more adults nearing retirement are reconsidering where and how they want to live and looking to home care to help them stay at home for as long as possible.
The conversation is also happening within our Government who are now shifting the focus to home as the first solution for keeping seniors safe and healthy.
Most Canadians prefer to age in place
Our oldest baby boomers are turning 75 this year and the number of Canadians aged 85+ will more than triple in the next three decades. Aging in place is no longer just what the majority of Canadians want – it’s necessary due to the number of people who will require long-term care in the coming years.
How the Canadian Government is making home care a priority
The Speech from the Throne highlighted the importance of improving senior care and announced that the Government will be taking action to support seniors and help people stay in their homes longer.
To help seniors stay safe at home, the Throne Speech said that Government is committed to:
- Increasing Old Age Security once a senior turns 75
- Boosting the CPP survivor’s benefit
- Looking at targeted measures for PSWs who provide an essential service and invaluable contributions to our society in helping to care for older adults
While the plan was somewhat vague, increasing benefits for seniors will certainly make in-home care even more affordable for seniors and their families.
Making the case for aging in place
Given the current climate, a significantly lower risk of contracting COVID-19 or any other contagious illness is the most obvious benefit to home care over a long-term care family or retirement community.
Other benefits to aging in place and in-home care have been identified, however, including:
- Personalized care. In-home care services can be catered to your unique needs with one-on-one care provided by a skilled and experienced caregiver.
- Fewer hospitalizations. Research shows that home care reduces hospitals stays and improves health outcomes. For seniors who are hospitalized, home care during recovery results in faster healing.
- Reduced stress for seniors and their families. In-home care services can help care recipients and their families avoid stressors. The care recipient is able to maintain their routines and remain in the comfort and familiarity of home and avoid change, which can be stressful, especially for those living with dementia and other health conditions. For families, a professional caregiver provides peace of mind and assurance that your loved one is receiving the care they need. It also provides family caregivers with a break from caregiving responsibilities, reducing stress and the risk of caregiver burnout.
- Improved socialization and lower risk of loneliness. Isolation and loneliness have serious implications for health, especially in older adults. Aging in place makes it easier for seniors to continue with their social activities and caregiver can help you continue to get out by providing transportation and escorting you. That said, isolation in the home setting is still possible. Caregivers are able to provide companionship and can identify signs of loneliness and isolation, should it occur.
- Improved quality of life and lifespan. According to reports, older adults who receive home care are more satisfied with their quality of life and have been shown to live longer. This isn’t all that surprising given that reduced stress, access to better care, and lower risk of isolation and loneliness have all been proven to benefit a person’s overall health.
- 2020 Speech from the Throne. Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/campaigns/speech-throne/2020/speech-from-the-throne.html
- Effectiveness of home based support for older people: systematic review and meta-analysis. Elkan R, Kendrick D, Dewey M, et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC56889/