Conference Board of Canada: Report on Seniors
Earlier today the Conference Board of Canada released a new report entitled Understanding Health and Social Services for Seniors in Canada. As noted in the report, care services in Canada will come under strain with an aging population with chronic and degenerative diseases. In particular, the report notes that average per capita health care expenditure in Canada increases with every year of life after 65. As frequent users of the health care systems and related facilities, seniors account for approximately 45 per cent of provincial and territorial health care payments.[quote name=”Dr. Chris Simpson, President, Canadian Medical Association” pull=”right”]With this groundbreaking study, the Conference Board of Canada has provided a critical assessment of the current state of health care services in our country[/quote]
To address the challenges facing seniors and their care in Canada, the report recommends a coordinated approach between federal, provincial, and territorial governments, as well as other key health care stakeholders and communities is needed. Some of the highlights in the report include:
- The strain on health care services in Canada will increase as the number of seniors in Canada is expected to double over the next 25 years from five million to ten million.
- Discrepancies across the country, lack of coordination, restricted access to or narrow eligibility for programs or facilities, and lack of funding for priorities were identified as challenges in health services for seniors.
- A coordinated approach between federal, provincial, and territorial governments, as well as other key health care stakeholders and communities is needed to address weaknesses in health care services for seniors.
The report, Understanding Health and Social Services for Seniors in Canada, also identifies key challenges affecting seniors’ health care, including:
- Lack of timely and equitable access – Seniors have access to a broad array of services covered under the Canada Health Act (CHA) but access is not uniform across Canada.
- Rising rates of dementia – Dementia is a significant and growing problem in Canada. In 2011, almost 750,000 Canadians were living with dementia, and this is set to double by 2031 if nothing changes. The complexity of care required by dementia sufferers is already putting a strain on many areas of the care continuum.
- Restricted funding to support growing seniors’ health needs – In 2014, Canada spent an estimated $215 billion on health care, up 2.1 per cent from the previous year and accounting for 11 per cent of gross domestic product. Economic and demographic conditions will constrain future health care spending.
- Limited senior-friendly mechanisms for redress – A clear and transparent mechanism to address complaints related to seniors care is required but not currently in place nationally.
- Current federal role in key health and social services for seniors – The current role of the federal government is limited in areas that are growing and critical to seniors: home care, long-term care, pharmaceutical care and palliative care. As demographic trends continue to unfold in Canada, there will be a greater need for more federal involvement.
To access the full report, please see: