Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats have begun laying the foundation for a better long-term care and home care system that truly supports and enables seniors, after a successful virtual summit last night.
The summit, which had over 3,000 viewers streaming from home, brought together participants from across Ontario – from advocates and family members to experts and frontline workers – to address the origins of the long-standing crisis in long-term care, how to stamp out COVID-19 hotspots in the short run, and how to overhaul the system to provide the highest quality care.
“I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to participate, share their stories and put forward their vision for improving the way we support seniors in our province,” said Horwath. “In order to turn the page on decades of neglect and thousands of heartbreaking losses during the pandemic, we need to centre the experiences of seniors and their families, and listen to the recommendations of experts and frontline workers.
“This is a critical first step in charting a new path forward on home care and long-term care.”
In a fireside chat with Horwath, geriatrician and health policy expert Dr. Amina Jabbar highlighted the glaring inequities marring long-term care and home care in Ontario. Dr. Jabbar noted how low-income and middle-class seniors often struggle to stay at home, only to find themselves on waiting lists for care facilities with thousands of other seniors. She also emphasized how seniors’ families are chronically under-supported, both as home caregivers, and as advocates for elders in an underfunded, understaffed system.
“For too long, Conservative and Liberal governments alike have allowed for-profit long-term care companies to pile up profits by cutting corners on quality of care, and pocketing the difference,” said Horwath. “We have to promise every senior, today and for generations to come, that we will change home care and long-term care, forever – and that we will never go back.
“Every senior has a right to high-quality, dignified living and compassionate support and care, regardless of the size of their bank account. Together, we can build a future that promises happier, healthier and safer living for seniors, at every stage of aging.”