The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on the healthcare system in Canada, and some seniors feel that care for the elderly has gone downhill.
Bruce Cordick,78, knows all about Canada’s healthcare system, in ways he never intended.
“I’ve had broken ankles, broken arms, cancer in my eye,” Cordick says. “I had breast cancer, stage two. Cancer in my spleen. Arthritis. Nerve problems in my back. Kidney stones. Diabetes. Bladder problems. Thyroid. I had a heart murmur. I’m sort of a walking nightmare.”
He says in all his years dealing with healthcare, it has never taken so long to be treated than it does today.
“I’ve had a relatively positive experience with the healthcare system. It’s the wait times,” Cordick says. “I had to go for two biopsies. Finally, I see a surgeon, it took about eight months and they removed half my thyroid.”
Bruce’s wife Barbie has seen him struggle to get appointments. When he does, it’s sometimes on the other side of town. A difficult drive at this age.
“COVID brought out a lot of things that we are talking about right now, that should have been fixed a long time ago,” Barbie says. “It seems to be falling through the cracks a little bit. And I think there’s a lot of improvement that could be made to make it easier for our seniors.”
Now, Ottawa senior Sam Bhargava has submitted a petition to the House of Commons calling for governments to create a National Brain and Mind Health Week on the first Monday of October.
“We are not valuing seniors,” Bhargava says. “Unless we do something today, nothing will change. It’s like the eye of the storm. Everything is quiet, but it can just destabilize the whole system.”
Bhargava wants medical experts, researchers and policy makers to have a yearly platform to come together to discuss what is, and isn’t working, when it comes to treating Canada’s aging population.
And one of Canada’s foremost experts in health is lending his support and his focus is on dementia.
Emeritus Neurologist and Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Brain and Mind Institute, Dr. Antoine Hakim, says dementia is preventable, and needs more attention from governments.
“You’ve got a problem that is mushrooming. And yet it is preventable,” says Hakim. “It is estimated that taking care of dementia alone in the next 10 years is going to cost us more than the entire current healthcare budget.”
According to Statistics Canada, over the next 25 years the population aged 85 and older could triple to 2.5 million people. Putting even more strain on the healthcare system.
“Our age is going very much higher,” says Bhargava’s wife Uttra. “But our care is not going that high. That is the difference.”
For the Cordicks, they are hoping to see changes made, not just for themselves, but also for all seniors in Canada.
“We don’t have two years, we’re almost 80 years of age,” says Barbie. “And every year is precious to us.”
Click here if you’d like to sign the petition to see better care for seniors in Canada.
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