Aging in the right place is what seniors need

A shift in thinking on seniors’ care issues is taking place across the country. Government leaders are taking notice.

by Arlene Adamson

Troy Media guest column

A shift in thinking on seniors’ care issues is taking place across the country. Government leaders are taking notice.

The opportunity to provide cutting edge seniors’ care has never been more within reach. Worldwide, there is a movement to take better care of aging adults, and this is reflected in exciting technology, design and conceptual communities which flip the notion of what it is to age on its head.

Seniors’ issues include more than just better healthcare coverage. They’re about more than beds for long-term care, more money for care-providers and the obvious need for updating older seniors’ facilities with sprinklers and other mobility-related accommodations so that people who don’t move as easily as they once did.

They’re also about more than providing in-home supports and retrofits to allow seniors to “age-in-place.”

Overdue conversation

Those of us in the industry who are committed to providing quality seniors’ housing and care — many of whom also deal with the reality of aging parents — believe there is a long overdue conversation that Canadians should be having with their families. It’s also a conversation our governments should be having with every single one of us, because most of us will live longer than generations past and therefore will need greater supports.

These discussions should be based on having all of the options and information available for our aging seniors. Those should include the more appropriate goal of “aging in the right place.”

When most people think of seniors’ care, they skip a step or two. They might think resentfully of the hospital bed being taken up by a senior who is waiting for appropriate supports to be able to go home or to some draconian long-term care institution.

Thinking about end-of-life quickly moves us to think of something else, and so we cling to the notion of staying in the family home as the best place to be. This may not be true for all.

Unfortunately, statistics and surveys describe a sometimes different reality, where seniors living alone wait for the kids to call, become isolated, depressed and under-nourished. For many elderly, living the dream of aging-in-place can instead mean their world becomes a seniors’ Bermuda triangle: moving alone from the bedroom to the fridge, the TV and back.

The home that once worked for the family may not exactly be fulfilling or suitable as we age.

Most people’s notions of seniors’ care facilities are outdated. These outdated notions may also not reflect the value of the supports that are available in congregate living.

Not one-stop-fits-all

Seniors’ housing options are no longer just one-stop-fits-all. The move to ‘supportive living,’ for example, can offer greater safety, more balanced meals, increased access to home care, and engagement with a vital social community.

Eventually, when the time is right and when it’s needed, there is also full support available in the senior housing sector. All of these may be more finely tuned, responsive, efficient, cost effective and, most importantly, appropriate housing options for seniors than staying in the family home.

An industry of professionals are organized, armed with research, prepared and excited to assist in providing better housing and care for aging Canadians. Seniors’ issues may not be the squeaky wheel that drives the revenue of our economy. If not supported, however, it will drive costs.

For the growing number of seniors and for those with an aging family member, we need to keep the foot on the pedal.

Arlene Adamson is CEO of Silvera for Seniors, a charitable non-profit organization which provides homes to more than 1,500 lower-income seniors.

© 2015 Distributed by Troy Media

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

Senior girls Lakers drown Eckville in exhibition game

H.J. Cody’s senior girls basketball team defeated the senior girls Aces 60-30 on Feb. 21

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Sylvan Lake fiddler says performing at Canada Games an amazing experience

Brianna Lizotte performed with three drummers during a segment of the Opening Ceremonies

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read