HomeSenior CareOlder Canadians lack guidance, tools to safely age-in-place

Older Canadians lack guidance, tools to safely age-in-place

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Most Canadians plan to live independently as long as possible, but new survey findings suggest further education is needed between healthcare practitioners and patients

TELUS Health, together with the National Institute on Ageing (NIA), recently released the findings from a new survey that sheds light on how older Canadians can be better supported to age well, safely and independently. The 2022 survey of Canadian healthcare practitioners (HCPs) demonstrates the need to prioritize conversations surrounding innovative solutions to enable ageing-in-place: 95 per cent of HCPs surveyed discussed emergency situations with patients at least once in a month; however only 11 per cent of those discussions included the use of Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) technology, which is known to provide added safety and support.

“It’s estimated that one in three individuals aged 65 years and older experience a serious fall each year, so proactive discussions between healthcare providers and their patients about how to incorporate healthy ageing practices and tools like PERS — which we know is a beneficial technology to support people during emergencies — are so important as our population ages,” said Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of Health Policy Research at the NIA.

The survey of 125 Canadian healthcare professionals, conducted by MD Analytics between December 2021 and January 2022, discovered that 89 per cent of general practitioners and nurses are unlikely to discuss PERS unprompted. In many cases, HCPs are unaware of the rapidly evolving technological solutions that can help better enable their patients to age-in-place, and which to recommend. Proactive discussions during in-person or virtual appointments, whether directly with a patient and/or their caregiver, are key for ensuring ageing adults have the support they need to live in greater safety and independently for as long as possible.

“It’s incredibly important as we age to have the proper resources and technological tools to live longer, healthier lives, without compromising dignity or independence,” says Juggy Sihota, Vice-president Consumer Health, TELUS Health. “This recent study underscores the critical need for discussions about innovative technologies that are affordable, reliable and offer peace of mind to older Canadians and our loved ones as they age.”

This year’s survey findings also reaffirm previous research findings from TELUS Health and the NIA — 99 per cent of Canadian older adults plan to stay as active as they can to maintain their optimal health and independence, but the lack of discussions about available innovative support signals further education is needed. TELUS Health continues to empower HCPs and other medical professionals to support their ageing patients with knowledge and resources about the latest innovations, such as PERS like LivingWell Companion and TELUS Health Companion on Apple Watch.

The NIA leads cross-disciplinary research to better understand issues and develop insights that can meaningfully contribute to shaping innovative policies, practices and products to address challenges and opportunities for Canada’s ageing population. It is dedicated to enhancing successful ageing across the life course, considering a broad range of perspectives, including those of financial, physical, psychological, and social wellness.

 

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