During an election campaign, political parties want our votes and promise to seduce us. Citizens must then choose the issue that is most important to them and vote for the party that seems to respond best to it.
Recent opinion polls show that for seniors and those who will soon be, one of the most important issues is the concern of not being able to age gracefully at home, so it will certainly be a question from the ballot box these elections.
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Quebecers’ affection for CHSLDs faded a few years ago. The health crisis has created a deep trauma that the retirement home project alone cannot heal. Seniors expect a variety of living and care models.
Public opinion is endorsing domestic support on an unprecedented scale. Today’s and tomorrow’s seniors have spent their lives making their own decisions, being involved in their community, and connecting with family and friends. They want their age to reflect their active life as much as possible.
In addition, studies and clinical research demonstrate all the human and economic benefits of home support: slowing down the loss of autonomy, economic revitalization and preservation of employment in aging regions, etc. So, let’s accelerate the shift!
The Auditor General also recommends rebalancing budgets. Institutional placement affects less than 5% of seniors but still accounts for 70% of the budget, despite recent cash injections. This chronic underinvestment is driving the healthcare system straight into the wall. Without a preventive approach – as advocated by social geriatrics – hospitals and CHSLDs are quickly overwhelmed when they reach their capacity limit. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the demographic wave.
Finally, there is no denying that current home help programs create a two-speed system. The public grid does not meet the needs, the wealthiest turn to the private sector and the others, ie the vast majority, who are hit hard by inflation, have no choice but to move and liquidate family wealth in order to find their housing finance.
Awaiting the conclusions of the Commissioner for Health and Wellbeing, which aim to bring about long-term changes, we must now respond to the height of the crisis and do everything we can to make home support services accessible to all. A trend reversal in ten years makes no sense for today’s seniors.
The concern of the elderly, their caregivers and their families is very real. These people now expect concrete solutions. As Quebec prepares to choose the direction it will take over the next four years, we bet seniors at the ballot box will be left wondering who best addresses their home support concerns.
Martin-Charles St-Pierre, President of the EESAD Cooperation Network (Social Economy Enterprises in Domestic Help)
Dright Stéphane Lemire, President of the AGES Foundation, and spokespersons for the Coalition for the Dignity of Seniors: Lise Lapointe (President of the Association of Pensioners and Retirees from Education and Other Public Services of Quebec), Pierre Lynch (President of the Quebec Association for the Defense of Rights of retired and semi-retired individuals), Mireille Beaulac (President of the Federation of Retirees’ Associations), Paul-René Roy (President of the Federation of Quebec Public and Semi-Public Sector Retirees), Andrée Lamontagne (President of the Professional Association of Retired Healthcare Workers) and Michel Gobeil (Chairman of the Association of Principals and Directors of Retired Educational Institutions in Quebec)