Issues for Seniors
The following is from my Blog, I am a Sonic Boomer not a Senior, where I have been, for the past six years, discussing issues facing Boomers.
Aging seniors and their families are faced by the complexity of issues facing the elderly. Not only do older people have to contend with declining income, increased debt and poor investment returns, but they have to deal with declining health, medical crises, complex insurance programs, long term care challenges, who-gets-what decisions, end-of-life, where to live in their final years and a whole range of other difficult situations requiring hard decisions.
The Government of Canada and the Canadian Retired Teachers Umbrella organization have identified the following issues as important to Canadians. They may disagree on their solutions, but the problems identified are of concern to both groups.
1. Health Care including Dementia and other cognitive impairments; lack of Doctors, Social Workers and others trained in how to treat or deal with Geriatricians; Health Accord Funding, and the lack of a National Phamacare programme; the sustainability of medicare, and the issue of end of life care.
2. Poverty among Seniors, including Seniors Housing, and Pension Reform
The biggest challenges any community faces with regard to caring for the aging are (1) the lack of awareness and connection to existing systems and supports; (2) the lack of coordination among many existing programs and resources; and (3) the fact that we tend to age differently based on our demographics, environment, formative experiences, and lifestyle.
Our structural orientation towards aging can assign resources in ways that do not always address the highest need. Aging is a process, not a number. Age is as much social as it is biological, and how we age affects our relationships and the ways we think about ourselves and how we think about our place in society.
As we age, the realities of our changing ability to engage the social and physical world affect us all. There is a need for investments to address seniors’ access to places, assistance, and resources. This includes improving how older adults learn about and approach the existing network of support and how they are thereby able to access physically services and amenities throughout the community. Connecting more seniors to the resources that are already available will make an immediate quality of life impact within the community, and will help reduce long-term crisis intervention and chronic illness costs.
At the local and provincial level, agencies and groups working with seniors could provide new and more efficient ways to help seniors and their caregivers navigate through existing programs and resources. This would make a distinct impact for seniors almost immediately.
Community investments can improve how senior advocates and stakeholders coordinate and collaborate across domains and providers. Streamlining the provision of services and the interaction among service providers could make a tremendous long-term holistic impact, leading to a reduction in costs associated with crisis intervention.
One way many seniors can be involved in the community is by volunteering. A large percentage of seniors want to be active and engaged in their community. In Canada, thirty-six percent of seniors perform volunteer work, with volunteers over 65 contributing about 223 hours a year, compared to the national average of 156 hours. In fact, in 2012, baby boomers and se