Canada is becoming an increasingly elderly population. It is estimated that by 2036, the number of Canadians aged 65 or older will nearly double; making up 25% of the total population. This is expected to place an increased financial burden not only on Canada’s health care system but also on the home care industry, which is already struggling to accommodate an increasing number of people.
Many elderly people will reach a point where they require an extra level of assistance on a day to day basis. Sometimes this can be instigated by an accident or a prolonged illness, and sometimes it is just that they have become frailer with age. And with the increasing demands of everyday life it is often not possible for family and friends to provide the kind of full-time companionship an elderly person living alone may need.
The Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) is one solution, allowing an elderly person or persons to remain safely in their home with companionship and care. Live-in caregivers work full-time hours and reside in their employer’s home. They provide assistance with mobility, personal care, medication reminders, run errands and perform light housekeeping.
The cost of a live-in caregiver’s wages can be offset in part by the room and board an employer will be paid by them in turn, so a live-in caregiver is designed to be a financially viable option for families. Over a long term, a live-in caregiver is also a much less expensive option than prolonged hospital stays or a permanent move to an elderly care facility. Economically it is in the country’s best interests to support in-home care for senior citizens.
The LCP is also beneficial to the live-in caregiver (a temporary foreign worker) who, through living in their Canadian employer’s home, is able to become settled here much faster and grow accustomed to the Canadian way of life. It is a program that works extremely well to integrate foreign workers to the country.
Our senior citizens’ current dependence on elderly care facilities demonstrates that they, and their families, are willing to invest in good, long term care. In turn, we should make sure that the LCP is a viable and timely option for Canadian families.