Canada will soon become a ‘super aged’ country

Canada will soon become a ‘super aged’ country


Older adults are facing a bleak future unless Canadian governments dramatically shift their approach to long-term care, says a new report from the National Institute on Ageing.

The third and final report in the NIA’s “road map” for improved long-term-care services — with an emphasis on community supports over traditional nursing homes — says staffing shortages, funding shortfalls and a rapidly aging population created a dire situation, which the pandemic exposed and exacerbated.

Dr. Samir Sinha, the NIA’s director of health policy research, said the final report in the NIA’s long-term-care trilogy makes clear that the current path forward is “completely unsustainable and will not meet the needs of current or future older Canadians.”

In the early 2030, Canada is expected to join the ranks of “super aged” countries, such as Japan and Germany, where roughly one in five people are over 65. In 25 years, as many as 2.5 million Canadians will be over 85, more than double the number in the 2021 census.

“We’re going to have 30 per cent fewer available family caregivers in 30 years and 70 per cent more older people needing help,” he said. “So that’s not sustainable.”, Sinha said.

“When 15 per cent of your hospital beds are occupied by people who just need long-term-care services, imagine what we’re going to do when we have way more older people needing those services,” he said.

Those with higher unmet care needs were reported in households in areas with lower socioeconomic status, creating inequities among people with lower incomes, the report said.

At the same time that the unpaid support is declining, the demand is increasing. The number of Canadians who will require unpaid caregivers is expected to rise to 700,000 from 345,000 by 2050.

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