There are almost the same amount of under the majority of residents in Canada as there are seniors (aged 65 and over). This means there are comparably as many seniors depending on their adult children as there are children depending on their adult parents. Of the almost 7 million senior-aged Canadians, approximately 75% live in either the care of assisted/retirement living or in private dwellings with family, such as an adult child.
As the proportion of those who lived in collective residences or nursing homes grows as the population ages, it’s important now more than ever begin including family in the healthcare of their aging loved ones. It once took a village to raise a child; it now takes a community to deliver care to an elderly relative.
The value and impact that including family in the health care plan has on every person involved are enormous.
For the family member being cared for, it’s comforting knowing that their family is active and sensitive to their condition. One-fifth of Canada’s senior population doesn’t take part in any social activities. Elder isolation and loneliness continue to be detrimental to our aging Canadians and can have serious effects on their health. In a UK study, 25% of adults who report being lonely also reported being unable to carry out their daily activities, including getting dressed and eating.
For family members, especially those living outside of driving distance, many of whom are unaware that their loved ones feel this way, it can be comforting to have some sort of information, communication, and understanding of the immediate and long-term future of your loved ones. Peace of mind can be strong as well as knowledge can deescalate worry.
Technology has provided us with the capabilities and opportunities for older relatives and family members to interact with each other on a mobile platform, involving any active but remote family in decision making and care plan initiatives.