Every Baby Boomer needs to read this fact-filled book – Neglected No More, The Urgent Need to Improve the Lives of Candas Elders in the Wake of the Pandemic.
Canadian author Andre Picard tackles the subject and lays out the history of eldercare in our country. He shows us how it is fragmented, underfunded and unsupported.
Funding levels have not kept up with the the fact that people are living longer. When we live longer our medical needs become much more complex. It should not have been a surprise to those in charge that this was happening. Proper planning could have taken place, if anybody cared.
We knew In 1945 the average life expectancy for women was 68 and men 65. Now we are expected to live to 84 and 80 respectively.
In the introduction Picard says “this is a plea to stop dehumanizing elders.” The facts are sprinkled with real-life stories of seniors who have needed various forms of elder care and how ‘the system’ has continually failed.
Over the years aging in place has always been the preferred way to spend our Golden Years. Yet Picard tells about one family who spent $100,000 in one year, despite accessing all the government programs available, just to supplement the elder’s care. And the family didn’t feel the care was great.
It’s horrifying to think that there have been over 150 inquiries, parliamentary hearings, task forces and commissioned reports as to the sad state of long-term care, home care and eldercare. The same identified gaps are well documented, over and over. Yet nothing much has changed.
Various government departments (housing, social welfare or health) have elder care or long-term housing as part of their portfolio yet not one department has the actual responsibility to make changes. It’s time today to change that. Government decision makers please care enough to begin today!!!!!
Picard also talks about private versus public care. One story shows how as a father needed more and more care, the family was paying upwards of $8,000 per month. The family still supplemented the care with family members and hired help.
The last chapter of his book is titled “A Prescription for Reform.” Picard acknowledges it will be a monumental task and will take a dedicated group of decision makers to move the changes forward. The changes he recommends reflect the research and information he has gathered. Each ones makes sense.
We know when a world-wide crisis occurs things can change. We have seen it with the pandemic. Our politicians acted courageously. It’s time they did the same for the care of our elders.
Public policy needs to be written with clear responsibility lines. Politicians must act boldly across all levels of government, and deliverables and timelines written.
We have too many documents gathering dust that state definitively what needs to happen. Strategically thinking politicians be brave. Step up and show you care.