Special to The Standard
Throughout history, medicine has advanced and slowly prolonged the life expectancy of each generation. Now, more than ever, senior citizens are living longer lives.
901 million people are over the age of 60 around the world according to the U.N World Population Ageing Report. It is estimated in the report, the number will increase to 1.4 billion by 2030 and close to 2.1 billion in 2050.
According to the World Health Organization, the world-wide life expectancy is an average of 71.5 years old, and an life expectancy in Canada of 82 years of age. With an aging population, countries across the world are going to have to start addressing the needs of seniors.
Canada may not be as ahead of the curve as some people might think in regard to this issue. There are almost 6 million seniors across Canada’s ten provinces and three territories, so ensuring there are adequate health care services for the elderly is important.
Hospitals across Canada are currently overcrowded, under staffed, and lacking adequate care for their patients.
Those in Windsor are operating at 100-103 per cent over capacity.
Overcrowded hospitals in Ontario contributed to the recent death of Stuart Cline. The 71-year old suffered a fall which led to bleeding in his brain. The incident happened in Mexico and he waited nearly a week for one of Ontario’s overcrowded hospital beds before passing away in St. Catharines.
Another issue the aging population is facing more and more is affordable housing and housing care needs. With the rapid rise in the senior population, the demand is outdoing supply.
The “Future Care for Canadian Seniors: A Status Quo Forecast Report” from the Conference Board of Canada said the private and public sectors need to make substantial investments in housing for seniors, to combat this issue. Ontario is taking steps towards providing more age friendly communities, with their $7-million investment into the grant program, but needs to beginning diverting more funds to senior housing and health care.
Seniors are living longer and need more care than ever before. The elderly population paid taxes and contributed a lifetime of work to our society, and deserve to be cared for adequately if an illness develops.
Everybody will become a senior one day, so it is important to look after the aging population and provide them with quality care, not only for their health but to ensure the systems are in place when future generations are in need of them as well.
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