Statistics Canada released new census data this week indicating that the 85+ years of age demographic is increasing rapidly, doubling over the past decade. Given the current challenges to support the aging population, it’s foreseeable that the elder care sector will be ill-equipped to accommodate the growing number of seniors.
In interviews this week with Global News, CFJC, CHNL, and CityNews, BC Care Providers Association and EngAge BC CEO Terry Lake highlighted the lack of national and provincial efforts to prevent a crisis in the continuing care sector.
Lake describes the new data as a “wake up call” for the government, and called for urgent steps to be taken before a deeper crisis emerges within the elder care sector. There are already existing challenges within the sector to respond to the needs of seniors: namely, the demand for services like long-term living and assisting living which is predicted to grow in the face of the aging demographic.
He notes that while “there have been steps taken particularly on the health human resources side” — specifically in more healthcare aide training and expediting the process of credential recognition for those foreign-trained — there is still a need to focus on the capital side. It is estimated that a minimum of 5,000 to 7,000 long-term care spaces are needed by the end decade to accommodate demand. Lake told reporters that “there are no signs of that happening.”
The takeaway from this week’s census data is that the provincial and federal governments must prepare to meet the growing needs of seniors across the province.
Watch Terry’s longer interview with Global News Morning here.