The loss of independence is one of the most critical, causing over 420,000 older adults in Canada to relocate to long-term care facilities.
The country's population is on the brink of a seismic shift. In 2014, older adults (aged 65 and older) represented over 15.6% of the total population. By 2030, in almost a decade, this number will increase to over 9.5 million older adults that will make up nearly 23% of Canadians.
While this enormous change will open new opportunities, pressing challenges also come hand-in-hand. Emerging technologies are critical tools to be leveraged in order to combat the effects of aging, augment quality of life and ensure prosperity for older adults in Canada.Learn more
To ensure a good quality of life, emotional, physical, and financial health
are the top three areas that need to be addressed.
As older adults age, more and more experience social isolation which directly impacts overall mental health and triggers things like depression, anxiety and other mental and physical conditions.
The physical health and condition of older adults gets worse and worse as they age. This leads to their bodies getting weaker and more and more fragile and susceptible to disease or injury.
As most older adults aren't working, they may have problems managing their money. This can lead to a loss of independence and being unable to take care of themselves financially.
Based on the three areas mentioned above, as well as interviews and surveys that were conducted, loneliness,
falls, and fraud are the top three areas that affect a senior's ability to live independently.
1.4 million Canadian older adults reported severe loneliness. This leads to an increased risk of many health conditions including falls, anxiety, dementia, depression, and chronic disease.
30% of older adults in Canada experience at least 1 fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults in Canada, which can often mean the end of independent mobility.
It is estimated that over $2 billion dollars is lost every year in Canada due to scams targeting older adults. Each victim may lose up to hundreds of thousands of dollars without even knowing it.
More information surrounding the top three root causes of
a loss of independence for older adults.
As spouses and close friends die, and children grow and have their own lives to manage, many older Canadians are finding themselves painfully lonely. 1.4 million Canadian seniors reported severe loneliness, which leads to an increased risk of many health conditions including dementia, anxiety, falls, and chronic disease.
Loneliness itself does not directly cause health problems, however depression, desperation & feeling unwanted can cause older adults to neglect their health or resort to unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking, drinking, or not taking their medication, as well as affect the individual's immune system.Learn More
Older adults in Canada lose over $2 billion dollar every year due to fraud and scams. Over 1.2 million mass marketing fraud attempts have occurred each year, maliciously targeting the most vulnerable segment of Canada's population.
Elders experience fraud in many different ways including medicare fraud, telemarketing, lottery scams, counterfeit drugs, and more. They consequently lose up to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year without even knowing it due to scam artists and fraudsters.Learn More
Falls are the leading cause of injury for elders in Canada, which can often mean the end of independent mobility. 30% of older adults in Canada experience at least 1 fall each year. This results in a direct cost to our healthcare system of $2 billion each year. Falls can result in hip fractures, reduced mobility, loss of independence, and even death.
1/3 of older adults who are hospitalized for a fall are discharged to long term care, which is double the amount that came in already being in long-term care. Older adults who fall and are sent to a hospital spend an average of 22 days there. Solving this problem would significantly reduce the amount of critical injuries older adults experience, while also saving the healthcare system up to $2 billion.Learn More
Frederick's life dramatically changed when he had to go to the hospital for a hip operation. At 70 years old, the effect it had on him was not just physical, but his mental health also deteriorated after spending three long months in hospital.
On leaving hospital, he was relocated to long-term care, a vast distance away from his friends and familiar surroundings. His family only visited once a year, leaving him in severe isolation. He became depressed and started to experience anxiety attacks. He later withdrew from life and doing the things he loved.
Frederick did not leave his residence for a whole year. He only saw a care worker for 20 minutes per day who was too busy doing their job. He had only the radio or the television for company. The life he once had surrounded by people he loved didn’t exist anymore.
Estelle Haynes trusted the man who called to tell her that she’d won a sweepstakes prize, saying she could collect the winnings once she paid the taxes and fees. After she wired the first payment, he and other callers kept adding conditions to convince her to send more money.
As the scheme progressed, Haynes, who was legally blind and lived alone in a house in Louisiana, depleted her savings, took out a reverse mortgage and cashed in a life insurance policy. She didn’t tell her family - not even her sister who lived next door. An investigator in this case stated that scammers often push victims to keep promised winnings and the money transfers a secret.
Her family didn’t realize something was wrong until she started asking to borrow money. Unfortunately, by then, it was too late. Haynes had lost all of her life savings - hundreds of thousands of dollars. About one week after calling her family to borrow $8,000, Jones committed suicide.
One morning, as Nabat was walking out of her bedroom, she suddenly fell to the ground. Luckily, her daughter was walking out of her bedroom at the same time, and managed to catch her before her entire head hit the ground.
Nabat was admitted to the hospital for 4 days with a nose fracture and many bruises on her face. Nabat's wounds eventually healed, but she developed a huge fear of falling. Ever since the incident, she has always been on edge thinking about whether she will fall again or not, and is significantly less independent than before.
She is now at a much greater risk of falling and has lost her sense of independence. She used to love cooking, but now she doesn't cook anymore.