BC’s Senior’s Advocate has released a report examining trends affecting BC’s population of frail seniors.
Isobel Mackenzie looks at the tens of thousands of seniors receiving both home care and in long-term care.
BC has the oldest home care clients in the country at 80.5 years and the most frail and who would likely be able to qualify for or be near placement in a facility.
“In British Columbia, fifty-seven per cent of our home care clients meet this criteria and it’s 8.2 per cent higher than the Canadian average. This has increased over the last five years by about three per cent.”
The data shows though that while frail, 32 per cent of home care clients are considered medically stable compared with 22 per cent nationally.
Meanwhile, Mackenzie says roughly 65 per cent of people in long-term care in BC have a diagnosis of dementia.
“The rate is increasing. It’s increasing at the rate of about one per cent a year. So if we look over the past five years, the rate of dementia in our care facilities has risen by 4.8 per cent or round that up to five per cent, or one per cent a year.”
Thirty-five per cent of home care clients have a diagnosis of dementia, which is down by 2.1 per cent from last year.
The study also shows that the severity of impairment in BC is not as great as in other jurisdictions.
She says the study does show there are seniors in long-term care who could be supported in the community if there were more robust supports in the community.
“We are managing to care for very frail people in the community. That’s what the data tell us. We are managing to do that. How successfully in terms of the quality of life for the senior and their family, that’s a different kind of measure. That’s not what these data tell us.”
She says the complexity of clients has been increasing, the intensity of the home supports offered has reduce and there has been no significant increase in subsidized assisted living.
Mackenzie says she’ll continue to talk with the BC government about the home care program and subsidized assisted living program.
She notes the the government did make amendments to the Community Care Assisted Living Act to increase supports in the assisted living sector but the regulations have not yet been put in force.
Click here to see the report in full.