Advocate calls for revised long-term care model to meet the needs of all Saskatchewan seniors

Long-term Care homes in Regina and surrounding areas are moved to Level 1 visitations due to the increased risk of the Omicron variant. File Photo/ Global News

Is a new model for long-term care in order? Many seniors are saying yes.

This comes after the Saskatchewan government announced 250 specialized long-term care beds will be added to care facilities, followed by 350 standard long-term care beds.

Read more: Sask. government moves ahead with plan to develop 600 long-term care beds

The support for new care facilities and people who require 24-hour care is essential, but there needs to be a revised plan that meets all needs for seniors and looks ahead to the future at the same time, advocates say.

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Saskatchewan Senior Mechanism president Randy Dove said the system needs to be updated because the money isn’t be allocated to help the full range of seniors.

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“The stats that we see, fewer than 10 per cent of older adults end up in longer-term care,” Dove said to Global News.

“Most of them don’t go there. yet the system is structured to spend all the money on that 10 per cent. We are saying what happened to the 90 per cent, what happened to the funding to help people live their lives.”

Dove said more communities need to be created for older adults so people can live their lives at home or feels similar to home and not a hospital.

“Go back to a more of a wellness model that we used to talk about,” said Dove, “where the goal was to keep people active, keep people healthy, keep people socially involved so their mental and physical health is strong.”

Read more: Ombudsman report shows Regina’s Extendicare Parkside wasn’t prepared for COVID-19 oubreak

According to the Seniors Mechanism press release, community and home type support would cost about 33 per cent less compared to long-term living facilities and hospitals.

According to a Stats Canada census from 2016, Saskatchewan’s elder population continues to grow as there is 15 per cent of those 65 years of age and older. That number is expected to climb to 23 per cent by 2038.

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Dove added everyone isn’t getting any younger, so the time to act is now for the provincial and federal governments.

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