Friday, February 6, 2009

Eldercare industry

It appears that the eldercare industry is increasing exponentially, the way that the childcare and educational industry has evolved. There are issues around this, in that with the increasing number of seniors in care, the risks to their safety increase, as well.

Caregiving issues that now apply to seniors in care, as in Ontario Transfer Payment Agencies (TPA) have popped up here and there. The parallel is day care, where day care centres subsidized spaces are paid for by the government, to assist low-wage income families in being able to earn a living above the poverty level. For-profit centres hire staff, some of whom may not be governed by a body that ensures that they hold accreditation, certification or ar suitable for their work.

Currently, with 533 for-profit Long-Term Care centres in Ontario, out of 640, they have different policies regarding staffing. My belief is that all staff must have certification in geriatrics*, and that specialized geriatric services must be accessible to all seniors (Lewis, 2008).

One of the big issues in elder care is abuse. This, apparently, refers to physical, financial, sexual, social, emotional abuse, or neglect. There are several agencies that concern themselves with raising awareness, raising financial support through donations, i.e., CNPEA, ACE: MAG - gov't funded, ONPEA: (Trillium Foundation funding). As I research seniors' care, I find more agencies, spreading more tax dollars across the field.

The Ontario government provides a link with a pamphlet: What you Need to Know About Elder Abuse, an information sheet: What You Need to Know About Elder Abuse, a PDF file: Safely Planning for Older Persons. These are policy measures to deal with this problem at the government level.

In a conference in June, 2008, many speakers presented concerns, methods for identification and prevention of senior abuse. According to Robinson (HRSDC, 2008), there have been 50 government-funded projects to fight elder abuse. The Feds, in a speech by Senator Marjorie Lebreton, committed $13 million over three years for this issue. In a speech by the Rt. Hon. Beverly McLachlin, Chief Justice Supreme Court of Canada, she highlights the need for us to identify and legislate around this issue.

The statistics say that 90% of abuse is committed by family members. The issue, as I see it, ought to be contained under two streams: abuse by family members or either paid or volunteer caregivers in simple assault legislation. Never mind proving abuse. Tey need to be charged at this level, in the same way that domestic assault is now heavily legislated and highly understood by professionals. In Family Violence in Canada (2008), they hint that violence and abuse against elders is unrepresented and, therefore underreported, but this is not clear.

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* geriatrics: from the Greek: geros: an old man, iatros: a healer

Lewis, D. (2008) Organization Design for Geriatrics: An evidence based approach. Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario.
Gov't Canada, (208). Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, PDF file.

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