St. Thomas Times-Journal - - NATIONAL NEWS -

Hi Fel­low Se­niors: Se­nior’s care is al­ways a for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge wher­ever it hap­pens. Each Prov­ince and each Coun­try has their own way of deal­ing with the ever in­creas­ing num­bers of se­niors who re­quire care. Se­niors 65 and older are the fastest grow­ing age group in On­tario. In 2016 16.4% of On­tario’s pop­u­la­tion was 65 years or older. By 2041 it is pro­jected that 25% of On­tario’s pop­u­la­tion will be 65 years or older al­most dou­bling from 3 mil­lion in 3026 to 4.6 mil­lion.

You may be in­ter­ested to know that liv­ing ar­range­ments break­down as fol­lows for those 65 and older: 63% are liv­ing in pri­vate house­holds

Most (63%) of th­ese liv­ing with part­ners or spouses 23.5% live alone 11% live with other rel­a­tives l.9% live with non-rel­a­tives (nurs­ing homes etc.)

Ac­cord­ing to Tammy Leach, CEO Al­berta Con­tin­u­ing Care As­so­ci­a­tion, “Al­berta has devel­oped a new di­verse way of pro­vid­ing for se­niors. His­tor­i­cally, more than 60 per cent of Al­berta’s con­tin­u­ing care ser­vices have been pro­vided by non-profit, faith-based and in­de­pen­dent providers. They work tire­lessly to pro­vide a com­fort­able home to thou­sands of Al­ber­tans and make sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments into op­er­a­tions, con­tribut­ing ef­fi­cien­cies that help lead to a sus­tain­able in­dus­try. “(Cal­gary Her­ald)

BUT NOW - “Through pre­vi­ous col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner­ships be­tween th­ese providers and the gov­ern­ment, con­tin­u­ing care bed ca­pac­ity has in­creased, with the costs of con­struc­tion shared be­tween op­er­a­tors and gov­ern­ment, as op­posed to the en­tire cost be­ing paid by the public dol­lars.”

“The Al­berta Sup­port­ive Liv­ing ini­tia­tive was a pro­gram set up by the for­mer gov­ern­ment, wherein the prov­ince pro­vided up to a max­i­mum of 50 per­cent of the con­struc­tion costs to non-profit, faith-based and in­de­pen­dent or­ga­ni­za­tions se­lected through a com­pre­hen­sive re­view process to build and op­er­ate new care cen­tres through­out Al­berta.”

“In 2014-16 suc­cess­ful pro­po­nents were awarded an av­er­age of $65,000 per unit – with many units con­structed at costs much less than the 50 per­cent max­i­mum con­tri­bu­tion – to build 2,458 new con­tin­u­ing care spa­ces. All of the units were con­structed to meet or ex­ceed the rel­e­vant provin­cial build­ing stan­dards. Through the ex­per­tise, in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity of th­ese or­ga­ni­za­tions, many of the projects have al­ready opened or are near­ing com­ple­tion.”

The need for con­tin­u­ing care hous­ing will al­ways be a prob­lem but per­haps if the gov­ern­ment and in­de­pen­dent or­ga­ni­za­tions work to­gether it can help bring down the costs to the public.

Dorothy Wil­son is a free­lance writer spe­cial­iz­ing in se­nior’s is­sues. Com­ments are wel­come by e-mail­ing wil­son1@isp.ca or writ­ing c/o St.Thomas TimesJour­nal, 16 Hincks Street, St.Thomas, On.

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