Before the pandemic hit, long-term care was far removed from the nation’s recurring headlines. Perhaps many of us thought long-term care had nothing to do with us, felt it was a part of a distant future, or it had never crossed our minds at all.
COVID-19 has exposed the unfortunate vulnerabilities of our elderly population and the long-term care sector. Failing to address those vulnerabilities will only exacerbate them as Canadians age, with a quarter of the population projected to be 65 years or older by 2036. As we move toward a post-pandemic era, investing in the needs of our aging population will be critical in determining the quality of life Canadians can expect.
The majority of aging Canadians want to age at home, but the future of health and home care requires a deep understanding of the current challenges and a strong will to address them. As a hospital, long-term care provider, and research institute, the Bruyère ecosystem has unique insights to help realize these goals.
Understanding and solving problems around aging at home or in residential care is achieved through a multi-pronged approach including rigorous research and clinical trials, testing therapies and technologies, and being prepared to invest in innovative and sustainable solutions – resulting in compassionate and informed care.
Let’s invest in smart homes that can monitor cognitive decline and support family caregivers. Invest in creative programs in health settings that foster engagement and spark wonder. Invest in virtual rehabilitation to promote access to care in rural and frail populations. Invest in the redesign of long-term care homes. Let’s make this the next generation of care.
Canada needs to re-envision elder care. The pandemic may have revealed devastating gaps, but it also gave us an appreciation for the opportunities to transform aging and care for the better – let’s embrace them.