Seniors in the contemporary society involve those men and women who are either equal to or greater than 65 years of age. This population age group is extremely delicate and is vulnerable to minor diseases and thus requires proper attention as much as possible. Moreover, this group is economically inactive and thus solely depends on the economically active populations for their maintenance and survival. However, this population is steadily increasing in most countries requiring the later to institutionalize them in an effort to increase their life expectancy.
This paper pays high attention to the ways that can be taken in order to reduce the institutionalization rate of seniors in Canada, the ways in which Canada approach senior’s health services in comparison with other countries and the changes that Canada could consider from other countries in order to reduce the rate of institutionalization of seniors.
According to health statistics in Canada, the number of seniors is increasing in an alarming rate within the last few decades, and the number of female seniors is much higher than that of male seniors. Moreover, this number is estimated to increase in the coming decades such that, in the next three decades, 23% of the population of Canada will be comprised of seniors who will require institutionalization (Statistics Canada, 2013).
The 2011 census states that there are approximately five million seniors in Canada. 43.5% of those seniors currently live in multi person dwellings such as nursing homes, residences or religious institutions. Moreover, a substantial number of seniors live alone, and this pose a high risk for them to live for more years than when they could be living with family members or friends. The current trend is to change the delivery of health care in hopes of allowing seniors to remain in their homes longer.
It is proven that the health and well-being of seniors are increased if they are able to stay in their own homes. Additionally, most of the seniors are institutionalized, for example, in health systems due to chronic diseases such as arthritis and rheumatism that restrict them from their daily activities and in the long run reduce their life expectancy.
Consecutively, the government of Canada can reduce the rate of institutionalization of seniors through recruiting more health professional who would regularly be visiting these seniors in their homes in order to provide them with health services that they would be requiring. In connection to this approach, the government should provide transport services to these health professionals to ease their transportation tasks to the homes of these seniors. Moreover, most of the health professionals are not adequately trained in providing palliative care to the elderly and thus the government should authorize fresh training of these health professional on how to bestow these services to the seniors (Park et al., 2014).
In addition, most family members and friends of the seniors opt to send seniors to health institutions due to lack of finances of supporting and caring of these seniors. Moreover, most of these seniors are economically inactive and thus do not have any sources of accessing finances at least to meet their basic needs such as water, food and clothing (Park et al., 2014).
In the long run, these seniors suffer malnutrition that expose them to various health consequences and, as a result, lower their life expectancy. Therefore, the Canadian government should allocate funds for caring these seniors, for example, through providing them with food, clothing, bedding, water among other services. These provisions would reduce the number of seniors who are institutionalized due to lack of basic needs.
Consecutively, due to the increasing rate of seniors who are institutionalized due preventable diseases, the government of Canada should encourage preventive programs such as health promotion, disease prevention measures to the seniors and the middle-aged populations so that when the latter hits 65 years of age, they will be aware of disease prevention measures such as practices, living stress free lives among others (Park et al., 2014).
Moreover, the government should encourage family members, friends, and neighbours to always assist and keep seniors company in order to make their lives happy especially those seniors who live alone. Doing this would help the seniors to live healthy lives free from stress and in the long run increase their life expectancy.
Most researchers outline Canada as one of the best countries that have high skilled health professionals in United States. Therefore, the health professionals provide high skilled services to the seniors. However, the costs of the health services are much high compared to the costs of the same services in Japan.
The reports concluded that Canada could learn a lot from the approach of Japan in providing universal health care. Japan offers its seniors with rapid health care services at a low costs than Canada. Moreover, Canada health services have a limitation of unavailability of comprehensive health information systems and delayed waiting times of health care treatments and diagnostic procedures. In addition, the life expectancy of seniors in Canada is low than in Japan as management systems rarely focus on the quality of health outcomes (Kandel & Adamec, 2003).
Moreover, in Netherlands, three sources of health care funding exist, that is private health insurance and exceptional medical expenses acts. Sickness funds cater for those individuals such as the seniors and other middle-aged populations whose incomes are below specified level (Kandel & Adamec, 2003).
Most of the seniors receive health services from sickness funds. This service, therefore, ensures that there are no seniors who would fail to receive health services due to lack of funds. This practice is contrary to Canadian health services where health care financing is through fee-for-service systems that make it hard for most seniors to receive health care services because of lacking finances.
Like in Japan, Canada needs to focus on health prevention, promotion and to encourage the seniors on better lifestyle choices. Japan is effectively utilizing its health care budget to cater for the seniors and thus Canada is not limited to this achievement. Japan has extremely high expectancy rate of its seniors to the extent that most of the seniors hit hundred years and still look economically active and mentally healthy.
In the adopting of this approach, Canada would adequately reduce the rate of institutionalizing its seniors. Canada needs to reform its health care financing systems that would cater for the seniors who cannot make it to finance their health services. It should incorporate methods like those of applied in Netherlands such as sickness funds that cater for those populations who are not economically stable as the seniors. This approach would help to reduce the rate of institutionalization of seniors and also increase their life expectancy (Harris et al., 2007).
Sweden heath care maintains the provision of primary health care of seniors and ensures there are no delays in providing these services to them. In addition, it ensures that the general practitioners conduct home visits to the seniors in an effort to monitor their wellbeing and provide guidance services to them. Consecutively, in the United States, a system referred to as the Medicare coverage system provides medical coverage of seniors and young people who have disabling illnesses or injuries.
Moreover, those individuals who are below 65 years of age but don not health insurance because they cannot afford them due to poverty are also entitled to Medicare coverage through a system called Medicaid. Medicare system is funded by income taxes while Medicaid system is funded by a combination of state and federal taxes. These approaches have resulted in the high reduction of the rate of institutionalizing of seniors in both Sweden and United States (Atlas, 2011).
It is, therefore, evident that Canada requires health reforms in order to reduce the rate of institutionalization of its seniors and also to increase their life expectancy in the long run. Adoption of the systems that exist in Japan, Sweden, and United States can highly favour most seniors in Canada.
Atlas, S. W. (2011). In excellent health: Setting the record straight on America’s health care and charting a path for future reform. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University.
Harris, M., Manning, P., Fraser Institute (Vancouver, B.C.), & Institut économique de Montréal. (2007). Vision for a Canada strong and free. Vancouver: Fraser Institute.
Kandel, J., & Adamec, C. A. (2003). The encyclopedia of senior health and well-being. New York, NY: Facts On File.
Park, G., Miller, D., Tien, G., Sheppard, I., Bernard, M., Hollander, M. J., & … Tello, J. (2014). Supporting frail seniors through a family physician and Home Health integrated care model in Fraser Health. International Journal Of Integrated Care (IJIC), 141-8.
Statistics Canada, 2013. Living arrangements of seniors. Government of Canada. Retrieved from