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Seniors (individuals aged 65+) across Canada are living longer than ever, and according to the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) the senior population in Canada will make up 25 percent of the Canadian population by 2036. B.C.'s Senior's Advocate has noted that in B.C, seniors made up 17 per cent of the population in 2015, and is expected to double in the next 20 years. Many seniors continue to face issues that prevent them from aging well, including insufficient community support and home care services, inadequate financial support, issues related to ageism, unaffordable housing and lack of transportation.
The majority of seniors currently live in their own homes within the community, and while this is frequently the preferred option for individuals, the accompanying supports and services are often insufficient, leading to premature placement into residential care, care-giver burnout, and issues of poverty. Further, the majority of seniors in Canada are cared for by informal caregivers such as a family members or friends. However, many caregivers report increased distress from the demands of this role. Governments and healthcare providers must do more to ensure these caregivers are supported.
As seniors continue to live longer, chronic disease and conditions are become more prevalent. This is problematic because Canada's healthcare delivery system was built to respond to one-time, episodic conditions. The recent changes to primary care clinics in Vancouver has resulted in some seniors needing to travel much farther to access primary care services, and as a result, some are simply choosing to 'not bother'. This not only compromises the health of individuals, but adds further downstream costs to the healthcare system when complications of illness are not dealt with during their earliest stages.
ARNBC will continue to work with members, stakeholders, and experts to promote healthy aging and involve "policies, services and structures" that support both the physical and social environment in order to promote healthy aging (e.g., accessible transportation, affordable housing, community programs etc).