Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020
News Every Day |

The year of the pandemic has busted the myth that Canada values its seniors

This has been a year of realizing that what we thought was solid ground beneath our collective feet was in fact a cliff that would crumble away with just a bit of natural erosion or one sharp blow. We reflected on 2020 to find truths, exploded. This is one of them. Read more about the year that changed everything »

“You are a waste of space,” a nurse told 88-year-old Mary Wilton in the summer of 2019 after the octogenarian, who suffers from Parkinson’s, vomited while receiving care in a hospital near Toronto.

Today, Wilton’s daughter Alison cries as she talks about the day her mother phoned to tell her about the encounter. She calls it one of many examples of age discrimination that her mother has faced over the last decade as her health worsened. The ageism comes not only in the form of callous comments but as unaffordable housing, insufficient home care, wait lists for long-term care and a lack of support for family caregivers—all of which existed prior to the pandemic but worsened over 2020, says Wilton. “People say, ‘Well, they’re old anyway.’ ”

For decades, one Canadian government after another has made promises to Canada’s older adults to increase their access to support and improve the quality of their lives. In 2004, Ontario’s minister of health and long-term care, George Smitherman, said: “We need to change the culture of long-term care in this province.” In 2014, Canada’s minister of state for seniors, Alice Wong, said: “The government of Canada is committed to ensuring a high quality of life for seniors.” In 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “We’re making sure [seniors] have the support they need.”

OUR EDITORIAL: Looking at truths, exploded

But the reality of 2020 is that Canada’s seniors are suffering disproportionately, and it’s because these promises have gone unfulfilled. The proof is in the pandemic numbers: by the summer, over 80 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada occurred in nursing and retirement home settings—nearly twice the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average, even though Canada’s total COVID-19 mortality rate was comparatively lower. The degree of devastation became too large for staff at these homes to manage. In the first wave of COVID, the military was called into long-term care homes in Quebec; in the second, the Canadian Red Cross was summoned into some Ontario homes. In Manitoba, Minister of Health Cameron Friesen told CBC News that deaths in personal care homes are “tragic” but “unavoidable.” In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney noted this spring that many people dying from COVID had already surpassed their life expectancy.

Dr. Amina Jabbar, a geriatrician in Toronto who is completing a Ph.D. in health policy at McMaster University in Hamilton, says Canada has a history of underfunding and under-regulating care for seniors. “It’s incredibly fascinating, but also really depressing to look at how bad the state of long-term care has been, literally, for decades.” Even before the pandemic, over 40,000 Canadians were on wait lists for a place in a nursing home while another 430,000 reported having unmet home care needs, according to the National Institute on Aging. Many lack the funds to pay out of pocket for care: in 2016, 14.5 per cent of older Canadians lived in low-income households, according to census data from Statistics Canada.

Jabbar regularly visits her patients in their homes because they’re too sick to come to her clinic. Often they have too few publicly funded services to help them age in place safely and months-long waiting lists to get into a nursing home, she says. “It seems grossly inequitable to me that, in a country like Canada, the decision to stay at home and to age at home ultimately ends up being about how much you’ve been able to save.”

Many Canadians don’t know how desperate the situation is for the country’s elder citizens, says Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulos, a teaching professor at Ontario Tech University who specializes in family caregiving. “People don’t want to think about the elderly because it’s sad,” she says. Or they don’t think about older adults at all because they just don’t see them. Seniors are often isolated from the general population because our communities are not designed to be age-friendly.

“I think a lot of people are just unaware of how bad it is [for Canadian seniors],” says Stamatopoulos. “But do I think our governments and politicians know? Absolutely.”

14 things 2020 proved wrong

‘Democracy is destiny’

The worst system except for all the others has been under attack for years. Trump just made us notice.

‘The future is virtual’

The pandemic has made it clear in more ways than we would have thought to count: you actually need to be there

‘Rich countries can overcome’

The awful response to the pandemic put the final nail in the myth of liberal democracy’s pre-eminence

‘In a crisis, leaders will lead’

The job description is right in their title, but too many simply failed to show up for work

‘Women are winning at work’

The economic crisis spurred by the pandemic has unveiled inequalities and obstacles once thought a thing of the past

‘The individual is supreme’

Our decades-long love affair with rugged independence has suddenly fallen away

‘The stock market has meaning’

Long treated as a key economic indicator by many, it is now completely detached from how the economy is actually doing

‘Climate change can’t be stopped’

After decades of planet-threatening growth, emissions fell off a cliff. Environmentalists sense a turning point.

‘We value our seniors’

Decades of promises to improve the quality of life of elderly Canadians have gone unfulfilled

‘Kids are resilient’

Children’s ability to bounce back has been pushed to a breaking point, and exposed some ugly inequalities

‘Running errands is boring’

Rushing out to get milk was once the height of tedium. Today, it’s an anxiety-inducing thrill ride.

‘We need the gym’

The pandemic shutdown forced a reality check: for many, all that time spent in the gym was more luxury than necessity

‘Bureaucracy is slow’

The pandemic forced a culture shift on government, proving that red tape really can be cut

‘You can ignore racism’

Denying systemic racism is no longer tenable. But will the outrage of the past summer translate to substantive change?

The post The year of the pandemic has busted the myth that Canada values its seniors appeared first on

Read also

National Council for Family Affairs, UNICEF launch campaign on cyberbullying

Boris must accept the tide is turning against lockdown – before it’s too late

‘Killer’ uncle, 30, admits punching niece, 16, in face until her bones ‘cracked’ but then ‘forgot’ about attack

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here