Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Seniors' Care After COVID-19
Rosalie Wyonch, C.D. Howe Institute
December 9, 2021
Description / Summary
A new report draws on the lessons learned during the pandemic, and assesses the challenges of the future. Conclusions include the following:
Major investments and significant changes should be made in the long-term care sector, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.
Author Rosalie Wyonch recommends expansions in both residential and homecare so Canadian seniors can receive care when they want it, where they want it. The report also recommends major investments in long-term care and retirement homes, to mitigate the risks of future infectious disease outbreak and improvement of quality-of-life needs for seniors.
Prior to the pandemic, Canada had long waitlists for long-term care homes and had fewer homecare providers than the international average. These existing shortfalls will be compounded by Canada’s ageing population as babyboomers surpass 80 years of age. Making necessary changes to improve the quality of long-term care—such as reducing occupancy per room, increasing staffing levels, supporting higher wages for care workers, constructing new facilities—would require nearly every new dollar of health spending be directed to seniors care, with annual costs projected to increase to 4.2% of GDP by 2040. This level of investment in seniors’ care is unprecedented and fiscally infeasible. Innovative approaches will be required.