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Nurses, social workers join CMA in calling for national seniors strategy

In the lead-up to Canada’s premiers Council of the Federation meeting, the national organizations representing Canada’s nurses and social workers joined the Canadian Medical Association in advocating for the importance of a national seniors strategy.

In a commentary published in The Toronto Star, Karima Velji, president of the Canadian Nurses Association and Morel Caissie, president of the Canadian Association of Social Workers joined CMA President Chris Simpson in telling the premiers why a seniors strategy should be high on their agenda.

“The tumbling dollar and sagging oil prices may get the headlines from the January 30 council meeting,” said the op-ed. “ The real story, however, is how our municipal, provincial and federal treasuries are at risk of being overwhelmed by Canada’s growing senior population and the health-care system’s inability to meet the demand. “

In their article, the authors begin by referencing the recent report of The Mental Health Commission of Canada which noted how many family caregivers are currently experiencing extreme stress but that the demands on these caregivers will multiply as the population ages.

The authors note that while the federal government has made a start in addressing the pressures facing family caregivers “it must do more to make a meaningful difference.”

“Until all levels of government come together to form a comprehensive pan-Canadian seniors strategy, piecemeal initiatives will have a limited impact,” the article states.

The commentary goes on to discuss the pressure on the system caused by the growing number of seniors requiring health care services because of chronic conditions.

“If you are in a car accident or have a heart attack, our health-care system can effectively mobilize world-class acute health-care services. But the system is woefully inadequate and under-resourced, to properly prevent, manage or treat the long-term and chronic health problems facing most of our over 65 population.”

Simpson, Caissie and Velji close by stating that health care providers are “determined and committed” to making seniors care a priority and that “we expect the same of our country’s leaders.”

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