March 30, 2016
The Globe and Mail
444 Front Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 2S9
Letter to the Editor:
Re: We need a support strategy for seniors – regardless of location (March 29, 2016)
The difficult challenges facing seniors who are attempting to access services and supports in the north are hugely concerning and this article does a good job in highlighting this important issue. The wait for a long term care bed in the north is well above the provincial median and the availability of other options, such as supportive housing and community services, is very limited.
Unfortunately, long waitlists -- particularly for long term care home beds -- are a reality across the province. Ontario’s long term care homes are operating at 99% capacity. There are currently more than 25,000 seniors on the waitlist for one of the province’s 78,400 long term care beds. If there are no increases in current capacity, demand could more than double to 48,000 people within the next six years.
The province has committed to undertaking capacity planning which will help identify shortfalls in the supply of seniors’ care and services across the province. This is a step that OANHSS has long championed and applauds. While provincial policy directions and investments in recent years have been aimed at keeping people at home for as long as possible – something that most of us would prefer and that is more cost-effective for the health care system – we urge the government to remember that there will always be individuals like June Tetlock who require 24-hour care and we must ensure that the care is there – wherever they live.
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors