Currently Browsing: Media Reports

Helpline launched for caregivers in Ontario

The Canadian Press, Toronto

Family caregivers in Ontario now have a helpline if they’re needing respite, a support group or information on issues including tax credits .The Ontario Caregiver Organization’s chief executive officer, Amy Coupal, says caregivers are experiencing frustration and even depression as a result of their responsibilities, and have responded to a survey saying it’s challenging to find support. She says a third of caregivers are not coping well emotionally, and that number increases to more than half for those caring for someone with a mental-health issue. The helpline connects caregivers to a community resource representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a live chat site is also available between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., during weekdays. An online survey by the Change Foundation and the caregiver organization included 800 caregivers, and was conducted province-wide in the spring, showing 56 per cent of respondents find the process difficult — compared with 39 per cent last year — and more of them are now under financial strain.

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Beds, yes. But we need other approaches to long-term care, too.

The Editorial Board, The Ottawa Citizen

The wait list to get into long-term care will go up over the next five years, despite the Ontario government’s plan to quickly add 15,000 long-term spaces. If you have an elderly relative or friend, you care about this outrageous reality – in which frail older couples are sent to different care homes after decades of marriage; families are given virtually no choice about the quality or location of the long-term home their relative goes to; people are forced to make long-term care decisions on a few days’ notice; and loved ones deteriorate as they wait months it to access this care. 

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The coming long-term care crisis

Meagan Day, Jacobin Magazine, (US)

Americans are aging, and millions will be unable to afford long-term care. The only way to avert social catastrophe is to implement a Medicare-for-All system with comprehensive long-term care benefits. By 2050, one in five US residents will be of retirement age. As we hurtle headlong toward this reality, we face a choice: we can either invest public money in comprehensive long-term care for seniors, or not.

If we don’t, the consequences will be grim. The average annual cost for a home health aide tops $50,000. The annual cost of a private nursing home room now exceeds $100,000, and it’s rising. At present, Medicare does not cover most long-term care needs; seniors often find that their best option is to deplete their life savings so they can qualify for Medicaid. But even then, benefits are limited, and the costs of home health aides and institutional care are not fully covered. Private insurance that covers long-term care is too expensive for many seniors, leaving them at the whim of the threadbare social safety net.

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Ailing parents kept apart for seven months – This is just so wrong …

Kelly Egan, The Ottawa Citizen

Charlie Diffin is an old basketball referee — a Hall of Famer, in fact — but is almost 90, frail and suffering from dementia. So his daughter, Donna Bertrand, is blowing the whistle and calling this foul for him, and her mother, Joan, 83.“You think of them enduring all the ups and downs of life, 64 years together, and to be treated this way? I never imagined it would be like this.” Bertrand, 58, is desperately trying to reunite her parents under one roof after a trip to the hospital in March for a relatively minor matter triggered a cascade of events that have left them apart for close to seven months. And now they’re both failing.

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Months after promising Alzheimer’s drug declared a failure, new analysis suggests it was effective

Tara Bahrampour, The Washington Post (US), The National Post (Canada)

Seven months after clinical trials for a promising Alzheimer’s drug were halted and the treatment was declared a failure, a new analysis suggests it was actually effective, and the company that makes it plans to move forward in securing federal approval. The astonishing reversal on aducanumab, an antibody therapy which targets a protein called amyloid beta that builds up in the brain, comes after new data from the discontinued studies showed that at high doses the drug reduced cognitive decline in patients with early Alzheimer’s .“It could be a game-changer for the field,” said Rebecca Edelmayer, director of scientific engagement at the Alzheimer’s Association. “It could be one of the first disease-modifying therapies approved for Alzheimer’s disease.”

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