For the first time in Canadian history, there are as many seniors in Canada as there are young people.
The fact that Canadians are not only getting older but are also living longer, should trigger conversations and action, focused on the challenges this phenomenon is causing. We need discussions about what to do to prepare for the future.
Conversations need to include how best to serve the growing needs of an aging population, the types of services that will be needed, the support families will require and support and training that will be necessary for community supports to function properly.
Unfortunately, with this growth in the senior population we also see an increase in elder abuse - something that no one wants to think about or consider. But an issue that we need to face because it's REAL.
Elder abuse comes in many forms, with the most common being financial, emotional and physical. Often more than one type of abuse occurs at the same time.
Elder abuse frequently takes place where the senior lives. It is estimated that 1 in 10 older adults experience some form of abuse in their life. Common signs of abuse to look for may include; confusion, depression, anxiety, unexplained injuries, changes in hygiene and displaying fear around certain people.
Elder abuse can happen to any older adult regardless of financial status, race, religion or sexual orientation.
With Durham residents living longer, older baby boomers are finding themselves having to care for elderly parents or taking on the difficult task of finding a long-term care facility. This added responsibility often adds extra strain and stress onto already highly stressful family and work situations. This doesn't excuse the abuse - it just means that there may be more frequent cases.
The situation is not going to go away, it is only going to grow...faster than most of us realize. We need to start conversations about how to manage and create a better future for the care of our seniors - which by the way, will one day be us.
Do you think the issue of an increased aging population affects you and your family? How will you start the conversation?