January 5, 2017
TORONTO–Last year, more than 100,000 Ontarians relied on services provided by long-term care homes, the majority requiring care for complex conditions such as dementia. The needs of seniors will continue to rise and it is imperative that our system is sustainable and set up for continued success.
“Over the next decade it is anticipated that there will be 50% more seniors over the age of 75 and, by extension, a growth in the number of people with complex needs who require long-term care,” said Candace Chartier, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. “While we recognize there is a need to be fiscally prudent in times of economic uncertainty, we ask the federal government to reconsider its stance, make health a priority and support the province’s advocacy for an improved federal health transfer.”
Last year, Ontario’s 78,000 long-term care beds supported more than 100,000 seniors, and yet remarkably, over 20,000 remained on the wait list for care. Further, with the ongoing growth in commitments to keep seniors at home, the resulting impact on long-term care is an older, more medically complex resident to care for. In fact, this past year new statistics highlighted that approximately 90 per cent of residents in long-term care have some form of dementia, a significant change from what we saw just two years ago. The need for specialized care for people with dementia is growing, and so too should the investments that support their care.
Much like the broad challenges we face with aging infrastructure across Canada, Ontario’s long-term care sector is in need of increased investments to rebuild and renovate more than 30,000 long-term care beds whose licenses expire in 2025. Without a growth in investments and support from Ottawa, Ontario’s Enhanced Long-Term Care Home Renewal Strategy could be further impacted, thus affecting the likelihood that these beds will be redeveloped. Should these beds go offline, the resulting impact could be catastrophic.
“We need our elected officials to make providing better health care a priority for the long-term,” said Chartier. “We know that Ontarians share our concern about our ability to care for their parents and grandparents. The time for action is now.”