Seniors are concerned about aging in place and health care in general, says Victoria MP Murray Rankin after a jam-packed session at Monterey Recreation.
“I thought it was a really good discussion,” said Rankin, official opposition critic for health and deputy critic for national revenue.
Rankin says he’s been told he has the second most active riding based on things such as correspondence and all-candidates meetings, so he wasn’t overly surprised about the level of discussion.
“Some of the questions were extraordinarily thoughtful,” Rankin said.
“The main concern people had was the uncertainty about what’s going to happen to them in the last years of their life. They want to age with dignity. There were younger people there who were saying ‘what about the squeeze generation?’”
He was to appear with the NDP’s seniors’ critic, Irene Mathyssen of London, Ont., but she was fogged in at the airport so he took the reins on the session focused on aging in general.
“The most poignant slide that I showed was the one that showed by 2036 the number of people over 65 in Canada is going to double because of us Baby Boomers getting old,” said Rankin. “We have to take this on, we have to figure it out. … The message I had to get across was we don’t have a national strategy on aging … on end-of-life care.”
Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Canada tasked the federal government with creating a plan to address medically assisted dying.
“That is only part of the picture. The main thing is people don’t have quality palliative care,” Rankin said.
Here in Victoria we have good hospice care, he said, but that’s something that isn’t true across the nation.
“I proposed we study the palliative and end-of-life care in Canada,” Rankin said.
The NDP propose both a national aging strategy and national childcare strategy.
“You’re healthier if you’re aging at home,” Rankin said.
The cost of keeping a person in a hospital bed versus having somebody aging at home are “ridiculously different,” he said.
Comparatively, a hospital stay is $1,200 or more per day; a long-term care facility several hundred dollars a day; while a stay at home: “That might be a few dollars a day, and people are happier at home,” he said.
Younger people are thinking ahead to this “grey tsunami as it’s called” he added.
When Rankin is out knocking on doors in Oak Bay, something he’s been doing this month, similar topics arise.
“If they’re seniors they’re worried about what’s going to happen when they can no longer live in their homes,” he said.
Younger people are not necessarily going to have the income security in old age unless we fix it, he added, noting the old age security changes that boost the eligibility age from 65 to 67 are unfair.