Guest column: Population aging is an urgent challenge, but new technologies can help

Visitor column: Inhabitants growing old is an pressing problem, however new applied sciences might help

By Alex Mihailidis and John Muscedere

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By 2035, Canada can be thought of a “super-aged” nation with one in 4 Canadians older than 65 years.

Whereas this has vital penalties for our workforce, it additionally has massive repercussions for our well being and social methods.

Seniors account for nearly 44 per cent of provincial and territorial healthcare budgets and unpaid care provision prices Canada an estimated $1.3 billion in productiveness losses every year.

The challenges of growing old and managing age-related continual ailments can compromise a person’s independence, cut back their high quality of life, stress healthcare and social methods, plus power many older Canadians who would fairly age in place into long-term care.

Canada already has a disproportionately excessive fee of older adults residing in long-term care, but the necessity continues to be not being met and demand is anticipated to develop.

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It’s not economically possible to proceed to construct and workers long-term care houses in response to an growing old inhabitants, neither is institutionalization what older Canadians need.

Urgently, we have to empower all Canadians to age effectively with dignity and autonomy.

Our governments have to develop and implement well being and social improvements that allow wholesome growing old each at house and locally. The pandemic revealed the shortcomings of our care methods for older Canadians. We have to enhance how we assist older adults and caregivers in Canada.

Canadians agree. A latest Nanos ballot discovered an awesome majority (92 per cent) of Canadians assist authorities funding in applications that allow wholesome growing old.

And there’s excellent news right here: frailty and institutionalization will not be inevitable as we age.

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The decline in an individual’s practical capability as they age will be delayed utilizing focused particular person and inhabitants technology-enabled well being and social methods and improvements.

The Canadian Frailty Community’s Regional Centres for Wholesome Getting older are one such innovation.

It entails using know-how with a customized net platform, good gadgets, digital actions and assets with well being and social care initiatives. It additionally consists of individualized wholesome growing old assessments, personalised targets and customised referrals to community-based programming.

This enables these centres to supply evidence-based wholesome growing old practices to Canadians in an accessible method.

We need to stress “know-how enabled” as a necessary a part of the answer. It’s time to do issues otherwise.

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The pandemic opened up alternatives; it pressured the deployment of applied sciences to ship healthcare and social helps, whereas demonstrating each the feasibility and readiness for protected and environment friendly technology-enabled healthcare supply.

It additionally offered the power to evaluate assist for unbiased growing old at house and skill to remain linked.

The federal authorities lately invested in an initiative referred to as envisAGE, led by MEDTEQ+ and AGE-WELL, that can assist corporations ship “AgeTech” options.

However we should not neglect analysis, which is essential with a purpose to feed the innovation pipeline. Governments can harness analysis to assist pave the trail for innovation in wholesome growing old.

That’s why we launched a brand new analysis collaboration, Wholesome Getting older Canada, a partnership between AGE-WELL and the Canadian Frailty Community, to assist change the lives of growing old Canadians by way of technology-enabled social and healthcare options.

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It features a concentrate on fairness, accessibility and shared dedication to speed up analysis into motion.

Our mission is to carry collectively researchers, stakeholders (older adults and caregivers) and mobilizers (trade, authorities and healthcare suppliers) to advance wholesome growing old analysis.

Offering optimum care and enabling a better high quality of life for a bigger cohort of older Canadians requires a coordinated strategy to the supply of companies.

Along with a public well being strategy to wholesome growing old, accelerated adoption of technology-enabled options at house, neighborhood and in care settings is a essential technique for governments to create an built-in system that’s conscious of older adults’ wants.

We should leverage COVID-accelerated digital use of applied sciences and the uncovered want for brand spanking new social and healthcare applications which can be technology-enabled.

Sure, Canada is growing old, however we are able to accomplish that gracefully by embracing wholesome growing old improvements in our well being insurance policies and methods.

Dr. Alex Mihailidis is CEO of AGE-WELL and is the Barbara G. Stymiest analysis chairman in rehabilitation know-how at College of Toronto. Dr. John Muscedere is CEO of Canadian Frailty Community and professor of essential care medication at Queen’s College.

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