Our population is aging and the health and safety needs of those requiring Continuing Care are becoming increasingly complex. In fact, 2 in 3 people know someone with dementia, with Alberta having the highest dementia rate and the youngest onset of dementia in Canada. As the number of seniors over the age of 65 in Alberta is expected to increase to 804,000 in 2025 and 1.13 million by 2035, the need to help Albertans in understanding the options available to them also increases. Given the many types of care and housing available in Alberta, the confusion is understandable.
There is clearly a need to help people improve their levels of independence while appropriately reducing their need for ongoing support. Not surprisingly, individuals want to remain at home and in their communities for as long as possible. However, if and when the time comes, a move to Supportive Living or Long Term Care can be a beautiful, positive experience.
Raising awareness of what Continuing Care means within the broader community in addition to building community capacity and ensuring a ppropriate supports are available for individuals to safely age-in-place is required. Ensuring all providers of Home Care, Supportive Living, and Long Term Care are able to deliver high quality, person-centred care in order to provide people with meaningful quality of life experiences is equally as important.
What Makes One Feel "At Home"?
More than just a roof over one's head, is "home" a furnished and comfortable room? Or a nicely maintained and landscaped building, clear of snow during the winter and with beautiful grounds to stroll during the summer? Perhaps it is nutritious and delicious food options with friendly caregivers and staff. Certainly these are all elements of a home. Just as we shape it, a home should shape us; it should give us comfort and pleasure and sanctuary.
All of these services and supports fall under the "Accommodation Fees" a resident in Supportive Living or Long Term Care pays. Above simply accommodation, or the roof over one's head, "Accommodation Fees" are set by the Alberta Government and cover everything that goes into making one feel at home. The term "Accommodation Fees" only shows a partial picture, and these fees in Alberta are the second lowest in Canada.
In Alberta, care providers can be public, non-profit, faith-based, or independent. It is important to note that all operators are held to the same government-set standards and requirements. Ownership type has no influence on the resident or family experience, according to the Health Quality Council of Alberta Family and Resident Experience Surveys. 94% of family respondents and 90.5% of resident respondents would recommend their home to someone looking for supportive living!
Having this mix of ownership type leads to investments in care that offer operational efficiency and creativity that help lead to enhanced quality of life and a sustainable robust continuing care industry.