Currently older Canadians constitute about 16% of our population, but account for nearly half of our health and social care systems costs. Medicare, our national health insurance system for doctors and hospitals, was established over 50 years ago when the average age of a Canadian was 27 and when most Canadians didn’t live beyond their 60s. Our population has changed yet our health care system has not fully adapted to meeting the needs of an ageing population. The majority of Canadians now see access to supportive and palliative care in or close to their homes, and a robust home care system, as top national priorities. We now need to focus on strengthening our Canada Health Act and the Canadian Health Transfer to ensure Canadians can feel confident that our health care system will be ready to meet their needs.
To ensure current and future providers will have the knowledge and skills needed to provide Canadians the right care, in the right place, at the right time by the right provider, our national educational and accreditation bodies for all caring professions including doctors, nurses, social workers should mandate training around the care of the elderly in the same was as they do for other age groups such as children.
The Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Health can work with Canada’s provinces, territories to enable this pillar of activities in a variety of ways: