Seniors represent the fastest growing age group in Canada. The 2011 census reported that almost 15% of Canadians were 65 years or older, and this population is expected to double by 2036, while the number of those over 80 is expected to quadruple by 2051. With the first of the baby boomers turning 65 in 2011, for the first time in Canadian history, the number of seniors will surpass the number of children by the year 2021.
Due to the difficulty of being able to find and retain doctors in Canada, our country is becoming more dependent on the care of nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses (LPN) and health care aides (HCA).
The role of the registered nurse is evolving to be more of a supervisory role, which leaves the LPN to be a bedside, hands on, and charge-nurse position. Health care aides are at the forefront of the health care team, doing nursing skills when ‘delegated’ a task.
These days, baby boomers are choosing to stay at home to be cared for, rather than moving to a long-term care facility. Educating HCA’s is allowing our aging population to receive holistic care in their own home environment, where it is proven that every area of health improves and/or is maintained. Families of the elderly most often choose to hire private health care aides to care for their parents in their homes for this reason.
Here is one story about a senior who chose to remain in the comfort of her own home, while participating in a care-giving program:
Our Family’s Story There’s No Place Like Home – For Growing Old
“The house on Maple Street has been Ellen Pinkham’s home for more than 45 years. It has changed over time—the twins’ bedroom is now Ellen’s sewing room. After Herb died, Ellen gave his mystery books to the local library. But because staying on Maple Street is so important to Ellen, her family is making changes. They call her daily to touch base. They added grab bars in the tub and by the toilet, got rid of those loose rugs in the hall, and put her doctor’s phone number on speed dial. A hot meal is delivered regularly, and Ellen’s granddaughter drives her to bingo and the grocery store. As they look to the future, Ellen’s family knows they can call the local Area Agency on Aging if they need help finding home health aides or other assistance. It looks like Ellen has a plan that is working. She may be able to stay on Maple Street.”
Other care facilities are also available
There are other housing options available to our aging population as well, such as assisted living and long term care facilities, where a full nursing staff, along with doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, recreation therapists, dietitians, psychiatrists, social workers, clergy and volunteers, all make up the care team for clients who choose to go this route. Adaptations may be made to make it safer for the ‘stay at home’ options, such as stair lift kits, grab bars, stand up and wheelchair accessible showers, electronic lifts, raised toilet seats, commodes, etc. Baby boomers have made it possible for the health care team to be assured of not only guaranteed employment, but a career that fills both the caregiver, the client and his or her family with a sense of inner peace and happiness that comes with caring for another in a holistic and unselfish way.