Grey power puts crimp in health-care system

The Canadian Medical Association says Canada’s seniors are not getting the health care they deserve – “not even close.”

By Brian Kieran

Look around folks. There are more of us than there is of them. Or so it seems when I’m elbowing my way to the Geritol section of the pharmacy.

Is it finally the dawn of Grey Power? Or are more of us being let out unsupervised? More of the latter, I fear.

In fact, the ranks of B.C. seniors aged 65 and over are growing four times faster than the ranks of working-aged citizens age 25 to 64.

Business Council of B.C. chief policy officer Jock Finlayson calls that “an extraordinary and unprecedented development.” He should know; he’s one of us.

A BCBC report indicates the province currently has about 31 people, 65 and over, for every 100 working-aged persons. In 10 years that climbs to 41 seniors for every 100 working age BCers.

In 15 years on Vancouver Island the numbers look like this: Victoria — 57 seniors per 100 working age citizens (37 now); Comox Valley – 61 per 100 (45 now); Cowichan Valley – 64 per 100 (42 now). In the Kootenay-Boundary country the ratio rises to 77 per 100 (45 now) and on the Sunshine Coast it is a staggering 80 per 100 (52 now).

Finlayson says this older population will put additional pressure on public expenditures while the capacity of the government to raise revenue is diminished with a smaller fraction of the citizenry working.

That brings me to the most troubling implication of this rapidly aging demographic: Mounting pressure on health care services.

The Canadian Medical Association says Canada’s seniors are not getting the health care they deserve – “not even close.”

The CMA has decided to do something about it. It is turning this glaring hole in the national social fabric into a federal election issue. The association has launched an “Alliance for a National Seniors Strategy” with the catch phrase – “Don’t leave seniors out in the cold.”

CMA president Dr. Chris Simpson says: “Our health-care system is still very much like it was in 1960, which was built for people who were younger, who had acute disease. Today, of course, we have a landscape that is one of chronic disease. People are older and they have different kinds of illnesses than they had in 1960. But, we still have hospitals set up to deliver on their acute care mandate.”

Dr. Anna Reid, past president of the CMA, says: “With the increase now of Old Age Security (eligibility) from 65 to 67 we are anticipating an increase in the poverty rates of seniors. We are actually seeing an increase in the poverty rates of elderly women over the last several years and that’s very concerning.”

The alliance will be working until Election Day this year to make seniors care a ballot issue in the federal election campaign and to persuade the major political parties to include a national seniors strategy in their campaign platforms.

Simpson says: “We estimate $2 billion is spent every year just warehousing seniors in hospitals simply because they have nowhere else to go. They are waiting to go home because there are not enough home care resources. They are waiting for long term care facilities that are filled. As a result the entire health care system suffers.”

The alliance wants the party winning the election to convene a meeting of the provincial and territorial premiers to discuss seniors care within six months of the vote.

In support of this campaign the CMA has launched a new website “DemandAPlan.ca.” I suggest you visit it and add your voice to the call for a national seniors’ strategy in the run up to polling day in October.

•••

Brian Kieran is a journalist and communications specialist.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A seller on UsedVictoria.com has listed signed, first editions of the first three Game of Thrones books. (UsedVictoria.com)
Winter is coming: 1st edition, signed Game of Thrones books for sale in Greater Victoria

Three signed Game of Thrones books listed on Used Victoria for $6,000

(Pxhere)
Mill Bay nurse suspended after using Tensor bandage to trap long-term care patient in room

Susan Malloch voluntarily agreed to a three-day suspension of her certificate of registration

Saanich police are investigating property damage at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police seek info after fence torn down, dumped over embankment in Saanich

Christmas Hill restoration site fence destroyed sometime between Jan. 16 and 18

Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is shown during a news conference in Ottawa in 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
Isolating provinces is a bad idea, says Canadian Chamber of Commerce

National business organization calls for cohesive approach to COVID-19 measures

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

Abbotsford’s Skully White (left), who donated his kidney in December, has started a campaign to find other recipients and donors. The first candidate is retired police officer Gavin Quon. White owns and operates a hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, out of the Abbotsford Canadian Tire parking lot. (Facebook photo)
After donating his kidney, Abbotsford hotdog king starts donor campaign

Skully White donated his kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Most Read