On March 25 2021, the Canadian Medical Association published their final report ‘Canada’s elder care crisis’. In this report they quantify the demand for care, on our healthy system, from a home care and long- term care perspective. This refers to the demands on the public sector and those on a wait list for publicly funded services.
“The reality facing Canada is that our largest cohort, the baby-boomers, began turning 75 this year, entering the years associated with the highest care needs. With life expectancies on the rise, especially for men, this combination will lead to a sharp increase in demand for senior’s care.”
They explore policy solutions that favors keeping people in their own homes, for longer and acknowledge ‘patients kept out of long-term care are likely to require more intensive care than the general population receiving home care. Therefore, we assume that these patients have higher-needs and will receive 22.2 hours of care per week compared to our baseline forecast where home care clients receive an average of 4.9 hours of care per week.’ They anticipate that the overall cost savings amount [to the system] will be $794 million in 2031.
The paper concludes:
Demand for long-term care and home care in Canada will continue to grow as our population ages.
- Canada’s senior population is growing at a faster rate than younger generations. No matter what we do, this aging of the population will continue to push demand higher well into the future.
- Based on current usage trends, demographic change will increase demand for long-term care by 59.5 percent between 2019 and 2031. A similar trend is evident in home care, with the number of patients increasing 53.1 percent over the same period.
- In our baseline scenario, this higher demand nearly doubles the cost of care which rises from $29 billion in 2019 to $57 billion in 2031.
- Policy solutions that reduce reliance on long-term care in favour of home care and shift some patients out of ALC and into home and long-term care would result in a better match with care needs and result in health care system savings of $2.2 billion in 2031.
- Nevertheless, costs will still rise significantly over the next 10 years and finding a way to address those needs is a policy imperative.
What is clear to me is that we need to explore different options on how best to support ourselves and our seniors to live comfortably and affordably. Aging well is not only for the well to do- but obviously – it helps.