Why is Continuing Care so important?
Continuing care is not just about seniors. It also includes disabled non-seniors who require health care and personal care services on an on-going basis. Approximately 8% of the continuing care clients are less than 65 years of age.
In 2008 there were 14,500 seniors and persons with disabilities in Alberta living in long-term care facilities at any one time. Additionally, there were more patients in hospital beds awaiting transfer to long-term care beds. This number varied throughout the province.
Seniors (aged 65+) do make up the majority of the continuing care system and both the number of seniors and the percentage of seniors in the population are increasing. In 2009 there were 385,241 seniors in Alberta; in 2036 it is expected that there will be than a million seniors in Alberta. Seniors as a percentage of the population will increase from 10% to 21.6% during this time period. As the population ages, there will be greater need for continuing care services.
In December of 2008 the Alberta Government released the Continuing Care Strategy - Aging in the Right Place. The report identifies a strategy 'intended to provide new ways of delivering services, offering more choice to Albertans in their homes and communities'. The emphasis of the strategy is to provide more services in the home and the community and to decrease emphasis on facility-based programming.
In September of 2010 the Government of Alberta released A Profile of Alberta Seniors. This document highlights some additional demographic characteristics of seniors in Alberta.
In December 2017, the Alberta Government released the Alberta Dementia Strategy and Action Plan. This document identifies the strategies that the government hopes will result in a society that is better prepared to take steps to reduce the risk of dementia and support fellow Albertans living with dementia now and in the years to come.