A recent study published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) showed that 1 in 5 seniors could have continued to be independent if given the proper encouragement and support. Although residential care is popular among seniors, studies show that it is not necessary for all of them and some are still quite independent and capable of living on their own.
Findings of the study:
Apart from not giving seniors enough support to live on their own, the study has also revealed that hospitalized seniors are more likely to enter long-term care compared to the seniors receiving long-term care and living at home.
Seniors in Transition is the name of the study and it raises an alarm signal. Health organizations need to better plan and coordinate the services they provide for seniors.
Georgiana MacDonald, the vice president of CIHI, believes that the next 20 years will bring even more seniors thanks to the recent population growth. To her mind, the health system should really focus on finding a better solution for caring for this sector of the population. It is not only about what the system can offer, but is also about establishing who needs what.
Requisites to determine whether a person enters long-term care are: the person must require physical assistance, the senior suffers from cognitive impairment (dementia), and the senior cannot live alone without being at risk of wandering.
The study suggests it is better to wait for the hospitalized seniors to return back home and asses there if they are or not able of independent living. In Canada, the average of seniors in residential care is 86 (70% female seniors). From those seniors 67 % suffer from dementia or another type of cognitive impairment. However, during the study 22 % of the residents had a low or moderate MAPLe score, suggesting they could have been able of living alone.