Preparing for the golden years. Is ageing in place a better option?

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Aging in Place is a lifestyle choice that allows a person to remain in their own home for the later years of their life. This allows them to live in their own home or community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. When moving into a smaller home, assisted living, or a retirement community is not what people are desiring then their wishes should be respected.

In some parts of the world, longevity and healthier lives are inevitable. Although there have been challenges, there have also been crowning achievements. Longevity must be planned. Economic growth is affected by our ageing society. International relations play a big role. For 2030, there is a projected to increase of approximately 1 billion, that is 1 in every 8 of the planet’s resident. The projection is that this will jump to 140 percent by 2030. We are ageing as a world.

Although, we will all face a host of challenges in our ageing process, such as decline health, fixed income, loneliness, isolation and neglect, the most significant, is our housing. Seniors’ biggest fear is to be institutionalized against their will in a nursing house or long-term care facility. That is why we must plan for our future and that of our elderly parents to avoid being institutionalized against our wishes.

In the Harvard Medical Practice Study, diagnostic error accounted for 17% of preventable errors in hospitalized patients, and a systematic review of autopsy studies covering four decades found that approximately 9% of patients experienced a major diagnostic error that went undetected while the patient was alive. Ensuring a person’s capacity assessment is accurate is of utmost importance because if an individual’s institutionalization is dependent on the results of their capacity assessment and there is an error, the individual will then be institutionalized against their will. This is no different than an innocent person being convicted for a crime they have never committed and being place in solitary confinement for a lifetime sentence without parole. Make sure the Capacity Assessor is a specialist in the area they are assessing. Coming from a medical background, I share a strong conviction that a psychiatric assessment should only be conducted by a psychiatrist themselves and that it should not be done as a written test with the assistance of a nurse. Since patients are allowed to receive service in their language of choice, as an Interpreter, and healthcare professional, I am of the firm opinion that patient care will be more effective, if service is delivered in their language of choice by the medical practitioner versus through the aid of an Interpreter. This also allows the patient to form a relationship with the medical practitioner.

According to Statistics Canada, 16.9% of Canadians were aged 65 years or older, in 2016 and 2.2% were aged 85 years or older, representing a 20.0% increase in these age groups since 2011. The proportion of the Canadian population aged 65 years and older is expected to increase to 20.0% by 2024. These demographic shifts raise concerns about the future need for nursing home care,  According to the 2016 Census, 6.8% of Canadians aged 65 years and older were living in a nursing home care or residence for senior citizens: this proportion jumps to 30.0% among Canadians aged 85 years and older.

According to the Federal Government of Canada’s Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Living independently can become increasingly difficult. Physical limitations, health concerns and memory problems are some of the issues that affect our ability to perform everyday activities from cooking and cleaning to personal care and taking medications. A diagnosis of dementia presents additional challenges that significantly impact a senior’s ability to remain living safely in their own home.

As we age, living independently can become increasingly difficult such as physical limitations, health concerns and memory are some of the problems. Staying at home for as long as possible is a priority for most seniors and their families. A 2013 poll by RBC found that 83% of retired Canadian baby boomers wanted to stay in their homes and pay for home care as needed.

A dementia diagnosis does not necessarily mean a person can no longer live alone. Some people can live on their own for some time after being diagnosed. Home support services can make independent living possible for many seniors. According to a 2017 report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 22% — or about one in five – of Canadian seniors admitted to residential care might have been able to remain at home with appropriate supports.

There are many things to consider when deciding between home care services and facility-based care. Above all, each person’s situation must be assessed and carefully monitored, especially if they have a progressive illness like dementia.

To help us live the life we want tomorrow, we must plan today.

Ageing in place means having the health and social supports and services you need to live safely and independently in your home or your community for as long as you wish and are able.

When planning for ageing in place the following are some things to consider:

Learn about the programs and services to support ageing in place offered by your local, provincial or territorial government.

Local seniors’ centres or public libraries can also help you find out about the services available in your community.

For more information related to seniors, visit Canada.ca/Seniors or your local Service Canada office or:

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/seniors/forum/aging.html

We will be able to have control over our independence, quality of life and dignity, by making choices now!

 This article was developed with the support of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, under the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) program, strengthening the voice of small Portuguese-speaking communities in remote areas of Canada. Creative Common Attribution: CC by BrazilianWave.org 

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