Advanced technology for medical care and the large “baby boomer” generation living longer has resulted in a large elderly population in Canada. Many of these elderly Canadians will need long-term care, either medical treatment or general assistance with mobility and the tasks of daily living. The cost for long-term care assistance varies from state to state, including the amount of government assistance elderly and their families may receive.
Overview of Long-Term Care in Canada
The majority of the elderly residents remain in their homes, with caregiver assistance or help from their families. British Columbia pays for up to 28 hours per week of personal care for those who qualify. Private care workers average $30 per hour, while in-home care from a registered nurse can cost as much as $70 per hour. A live-in caregiver who provides round-the-clock care averages about $3500 per month, plus room and board expenses. Seniors who don’t have family nearby or who have chronic health conditions may benefit from this higher degree of care.
Despite these figures, only about one in 16 of Canadians aged 65 and older will take residence in an assisted care home. The waiting list for accommodations may be one reason; Nova Scotia residents can expect to wait about 154 days, while in Ontario, the average wait is 113.
It’s not just elder care homes that have a long wait time for service. Medical care procedures are also subject to delays, with an average of 13.3 weeks nationwide to schedule treatments. The wait for common procedures such as cataract surgery, heart surgery, or hip or joint replacement can be especially taxing on Canada’s frail seniors.
Average Cost of Long Term Care in Canada
The national health care system covers about 70% of long-term care funded through provincial and federal taxes. The average out-of-pocket cost per year is $5,789 for those using public health services, while private retirement homes can cost upwards of $5,000 per month.
In addition, not all health services are covered, including some surgical procedures and types of durable medical equipment.
To make up the difference between national health service coverage, many elderly Canadians are purchasing private supplemental insurance, primarily for vision and dental care, which aren’t covered by the public plan. Private hospital rooms, certain rehabilitation services, and many prescription drugs also aren’t covered by the national health service. Additional insurance coverage should be part of eldercare planning for many Canadians.
Looking at long-term care for Canadians, while the costs are much less than those people in the US pay, there is still a need for additional savings or private insurance. Canadian citizens should plan for these costs when budgeting for retirement, and families may need to take into account the long wait times for assisted living or nursing home accommodations. Planning for non-emergency medical procedures is another thing that seniors should keep in mind. When discussing long-term health care options, they may wish to schedule things like cataract surgery or hip or knee replacement sooner rather than later, when their condition worsens.
In summation, paying for senior care can be more expensive than many people realize, and even with the substantial coverage from the national health system, there’s still a considerable benefit to having private insurance coverage.