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Unmet needs at home causing stress

A very interesting report on unmet care needs in the home was released this month by Statistics Canada. This report was based on information gathered from a 2012 General Social Survey. Did you know: Among the 461,000 Canadians who had

unmet home care needs, 24 per cent were 65 years of age and older, 40 per cent were 45 to 64 years old and 37 per cent were 15 to 44 years old.

In comparison, among those receiving home care, 40 per cent were 65 years of age and older, 31 per cent were 45 to 64 years old and 30 per cent were 15 to 44 years old.

17 per cent of care receivers aged 65 and older and who were primarily helped by friends or neighbours reported that not all their needs were met. Conversely, that rate was lower among care recipients 65 years of age and older and who were primarily receiving help from their daughter (eight per cent), their spouse (11 per cent) or their son (12 per cent).

Individuals who lacked the home care they needed reported lower levels of mental well-being than those who received all the care they needed. In 2012, 48 per cent of those with unmet home care needs and 62 per cent of care

recipients who did not have all the help they needed reported loneliness, compared with 31 per cent among care recipients who received all the help they needed. Other indicators of mental wellbeing that were covered by the survey include sleeping problems and feelings of stress.

Those with partly met needs were also the most likely to report that most days were quite a bit or extremely stressful (50 per cent compared with 27 per cent of care recipients with met care needs).

Some interesting insights to be sure. And to summarize here - what can we take away?

This report provides important insights on the needs of our population and demonstrates a growing recognition that, when asked, people indicate that they and their families could benefit from home care. Increasingly, Canadians are becoming more knowledgeable about the ability for effective care in the community and want to rely more on care that is delivered in the home.

And what can really stick out here is how mental health and well-being are affected so strongly by unmet needs at home. Loneliness, isolation, and depression are much more present than people

think. Adult children often have no clue how depressing it can be for their parents to deal with aging alone. Is this the statement we want to make for future generations about how we care for our elderly? It's not that far away until you will be that elderly person.

Contact me with an opinion, or for information about how we can decrease unmet needs, isolation and loneliness amongst our elders.

Chris Wilkinson is the owner/GM for Nurse Next Door Home Care Services for Cowichan and central Vancouver Island. For questions or a free inhome caring consult call 250-748-4357, or email