Report: More home health workers are needed to assist caregivers in Canada
November 21, 2011
The Institute for Research on Public Policy released a report stating that caregivers looking after the elderly are going to need more government support, including policies that encourage the growth of the home health workforce.
"Current long-term care policies assume that families (mostly adult children) are available to provide the care needed by their dependent elderly members, and that they have an obligation to do so," read the report summary. "But in the next 30 years, the number of elderly Canadians needing assistance is expected to double, and considering that there will be a much smaller cadre of adult children, this will inevitably increase the need for more costly formal care."
In the short term, the government can adopt policies that encourage people to take care of elderly loved ones, such as labor rules that accommodate job interruptions caused by the need to become a caregiver.
When it comes to thinking long-term, there needs to be a way to ensure private agencies are meeting high standards in home care. Furthermore, both the private and public sectors must continue to encourage the expansion of the home health workforce through wage increases, more training and other improvements. Also, more support services are needed for caregivers.
By 2051, about a quarter of Canadians are expected to be at least 65 years old, according to the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.