Friday, 30 June 2017

National Dementia Strategy

Last week Canada passed "Bill C-233, An Act respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias" (Alzheimer Society of Canada Press Release http://alz.to/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Bill_C233_PR_EN.pdf). It is projected that by the year 2031, 1.4 million people will be effected by dementia which will translate into tremendous family stress, emotional drain, lost wages, financial burden and health care spending (http://www.alzheimer.ca/~/media/Files/national/Advocacy/SOCI_6thReport_DementiaInCanada-WEB_e.pdf).

Having personally witnessed the loss of a loved one to dementia, I can attest to the impact this disease has on families, support systems and the health care system. It is unimaginable to think that in just over a dozen years, 1.4 billion people will impacted by this horrible disease that robs the essence of a person from the body we associate with them.

Canada is the 30th country to adopt a national strategy of this sort. One would hope that the strategy will be all encompassing including, funding for research to delay, treat and one day prevent the disease, increase training and people who can provide care, support for family and unpaid caregivers, improved health care and social supports, and housing options catering to the needs of the population.

It seems that it would be both cost effective and prudent as with other aspects of senior care, that we look at what others are doing around the world. Since 29 countries have gone before us, it is not a new concept at all, and I venture to guess that we can learn a lot from the mistakes and triumphs of the other 29. There are countries with care and housing models that are innovative and work very well. There are model communities for those with dementia, caregiving communities, innovative technologies... the list goes on.

We have started the process by committing to creating a strategy; I look forward to seeing what we do with it and how Canada will build on the successes of those that have gone before us.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Buurtzorg

Regular followers of our blog will know that I often write about the need for innovative care options for seniors as our aging population increases. I recently came across an article on one such idea that is taking hold in a big way in many European and Asian countries. Buurtzorg is a Dutch model of care that has been shown to not only offer quality care that encourages independence, but also save money. 

The idea was the brain child of a nurse names Jos de Blok about 10 years ago. Teams of nurses are sent out to areas with many seniors and each team is responsible for between 40 and 60 people. A team can be up to 12 nurses and they are supported by administrators and trainers. The nurses not only assist with care but also help seniors and their families understand the importance of illness prevention.

The model is very much a 'neighbourhood care' one with latitude and independence given to the nursing teams to provide care that is necessary within a given structure. It can be adapted to different health care systems and situations as different countries do have different ways that health care is delivered and paid for. 

Its an interesting concept and one that may indeed make sense in Canada especially with the costs of current care and the limited number of nursing home beds in our system. An ongoing concern is that while there are many retirement homes in existence, the cost is often higher than basic pensions and so there are many who could benefit from the care but cannot afford it. This concept, along with perhaps co-housing models, and inter-generational housing, with a mix of funding for retirement home living, may allow us to assist people who with our current system, are not able to get the care they need because of financial limitations. 

Concerns about caring for our increasing aging population may not be so difficult to resolve if we step outside the box and take the time and initiative to look to models in other countries that are both innovative and well researched. 

To find out more about Buurtzorg visit http://www.buurtzorgusa.org

Information for this blog obtained from: https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2017/may/09/buurtzorg-dutch-model-neighbourhood-care 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Happy Seniors' Month!

June is Seniors' Month. For the past 33 years, every June, the province seeks to encourage communities to highlight the contributions of  the 2.2 million seniors in Ontario; an opportunity to celebrate and honour their contributions to the world we live in.

Every year there is a theme to the month and 2017 is no different. Our theme this year is 'Living Your Best Life'. Seems that this should be a theme for all of us - young and old.

There are events all across Ontario with opportunities to celebrate. Most community centres/senior centres have several events ranging from entertainment to seminars to fairs.  Additionally, there are two provincial senior award programs - The Ontario Senior Achievement Award (deadline June 15, award is presented in the fall) and The Ontario Senior of the Year Award (deadline April 30 however award is presented during Seniors' Month).

To find out more about these awards visit the website https://www.ontario.ca/page/honours-and-awards-community#section-1. To find out more about Seniors' Month visit the website for the Ministry of Seniors Affairs at www.seniors.gov.on.ca. To find out about events in your community one only needs to search the internet or drop by a local seniors' centre.

Do take the time to celebrate and thank the seniors in your life this month.