Canada needs a comprehensive approach to reduce elder abuse that includes financial supports and programs for seniors and their caregivers, argues an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
In Canada, an estimated 4% of seniors—200 000 to 500 000 people—experience some form of abuse or neglect.
"The broader solution lies in a more comprehensive approach that requires the support of government and the Canadian health care system," writes Barbara Sibbald, deputy editor, CMAJ with Jayna Holroyd-Leduc, associate professor, Geriatric Medicine Section, University of Calgary, Alberta.
The authors suggest providing financial support to caregivers whose ability to work outside the home is limited by their caregiving responsibilities; increasing home support programs as well as education, training and respite for caregivers; and creating resource groups across the country for caregivers.
"If we don't act, the problem is going to get worse," they conclude. "One model estimates that the demand for caregivers will nearly double to 1.4 million within 3 decades."
"Our elders have supported us throughout their lives; it is time we return the favour."
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