Currently we face a continuing very serious home care and elder care staffing shortage here in Ontario. More than 2200 long term care residents have died during the pandemic, and that accounts for 66% of all Covid-19 deaths in the province, a horrible disaster for Ontario elders. In Canada it's over 80%, the highest reported in the world! Much of this can be put down to staffing problems, as well as outdated facilities that crowd residents sometimes four to a room.
The same staffing shortage is making home care programs steadily worse. Patients on waiting lists can't get home care at all, and other patients sometimes get told no-one is available, leaving them sitting up in a wheelchair all night! Home care is by FAR cheaper than sending people to long term care, but it still operates as a second class service.
Twice during the past week we have been left without help. In our case my wife can get me out of or into bed, but certainly not easily. Paralyzed and needing a mechanical lift to shift me in or out of bed, I'm not easy to deal with! Today, because of the schedule, I wasn't out to breakfast until 10.30! But many elders receiving home care live alone, so without help they are stuck, many of them also not able to use the bathroom.
If you trace this back, of course it goes back to government cuts and low wages. It's hard to see a way out of this except with greater public investment. I'm afraid that you easily feel you worked hard for 30 or 40 years, and then if you get ill and need assistance, you're just dumped on the rubbish pile.
I should be clear that the people who actually provide the home care (and I'm sure it's the same in long term care) are uniformly wonderful people who do their job well. These PSWs (Personal Support Workers) are dedicated and committed. But I sometimes fear that the managers above them are hired for their ability to talk a corporate line - and at the moment that line is always the staff shortage that prevents them giving the care they'd like to.
If you visit the website of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), the top headline you'll see is "Fire the Minister!", complete with a petition to fire the Minister of Long Term Care here in Ontario. Sign the petition and maybe we'll send a sharper message to the politicians!