Funding for seniors needed urgently, association says
'We don't have the luxury of time anymore'
The B.C. Care Providers Association launches a new campaign today which calls for an urgent $337 million annual investment in senior care over the next five years.
The association warns the province could face a crisis in the near future as the baby boomer generation gets older.
"I have shelves and shelves of reports telling us that this was going to happen ... We don't have the luxury of time anymore. We don't have four decades ahead of us to plan," said CEO Daniel Fontaine.
Fontaine said the same model of care pioneered 20 to 30 years ago cannot be used on today's seniors.
"The demographic has changed," he said, "The average age of someone coming into a care home is about 88. About 70 per cent of them have been diagnosed with some form of dementia. They are requiring a lot more intense care than they did 20 to 30 years ago."
Some key recommendations in the report include:
- setting a minimum of 3.36 direct care hours per day per senior in publicly funded care homes.
- increase home care visit times from 15 to 30 minutes.
- increase infrastructure funding for older care homes by up to $100 million.
- invest $25 million over next five years to recruit and train necessary workers and address labour shortages.
Fontaine said he hoped the report's release so close to the provincial election would spur the provincial Liberals and NDP to take a "very serious, hard look" at incorporating some of the recommendations into their platforms.
'Sandwich generation' a concern
This funding won't just help seniors, he said, but the so-called "sandwich generation" — the generation currently caring for aging parents and young children.
"Finding enough hours in the day to take care of their kids and make sure they can meet mom or dad's needs [is a] key challenge," he said.
If home care and long term care were adequately funded, Fontaine said it could reduce stress on these caregivers.
The B.C. Care Providers Association say their members care for more than 16,000 B.C. seniors in residential care and 11,000 B.C. seniors through home care.
With files from The Early Edition
To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled B.C. needs to invest more into seniors care, B.C. Care Providers Association says