Canada not alone in facing rapidly aging population
TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - With approximately 1,200 Canadians
turning 65 every day, providing quality health care for older people
across this country is taking on increasing importance.
At the interRAI RBC Global Summit held earlier this month in Toronto,
health care researchers from around the world made it clear that Canada
is not alone in facing a rapidly aging population and its related
health care implications.
"What this Summit made very clear is that population aging is a
worldwide phenomenon that is touching every level of society - from the
very poor to the very wealthy - and while each country has distinctive
challenges, all of us need to find ways to deal with the challenges an
aging population brings," noted interRAI founder and president Dr.
Brant Fries of the University of Michigan. "The benefit of having
international conversations such as we had at this Summit is that we
can learn from each other and then share those learnings in our
The international summit focused on aging, health and well-being around
the world, noting that the percentage of people aged 65 and over is
continuing to rise dramatically. In 2010, this age category made up
23.1 per cent of the population of Japan, 16.5 per cent of the U.K.,
14.1 per cent of Canada and 13 per cent of the U.S. For Canada alone,
this translates into over two million seniors.
One of the common themes which emerged from the four-day summit was the
importance of putting proper planning into place to meet the needs of
people who are growing older and living longer. Another was the
importance of giving a human face to all the data that interRAI
researchers continue to gather to help improve the quality of care
being provided to people who are elderly, frail or disabled.
"As we've found when helping Canadians plan for their retirement years,
it's not all about the numbers. The true power in the information based
on interRAI assessments isn't in the data itself - it's how the data is
applied and the difference that it is making in the lives of elderly
people worldwide," explained Michael Walker, vice-president and head of
Branch Investments for RBC, co-sponsor of the summit. "At RBC, we're
using insights gained from interRAI data to help us to increase our
understanding of age-related issues, to ensure our advisors are better
equipped to provide appropriate advice and solutions to aging Canadians
and their families."
Following the earthquake that hit New Zealand in February 2011, interRAI assessment tools were used to help prioritize emergency health care
services for elderly people living in Christchurch, near the
earthquake's epicentre. interRAI data also was used to develop an
online, interactive caregiving resource - the RBC Your CareGiving Planner - to help Canadians evaluate their informal caregiving needs. The
planner's development was led by Dr. John P. Hirdes, senior Canadian
Fellow and Board Member of interRAI and a Professor with the School of
Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo,
"The assessment instruments used in Christchurch and the RBC Your
CareGiving Planner are two powerful examples of how partnerships among
governments, business and interRAI researchers can help develop
solutions for our aging populations," added Dr. Hirdes. "There's no
single sector that can provide solutions on their own - it will
continue to take a concerted effort by all."
The interRAI RBC Global Summit was attended by over 60 delegates from 17
countries. Some of the topics covered during the Summit included how
aging societies can improve quality of care for the elderly, mental
health services across the continuum of care, the impact of water
quality on the health of individuals and societies and how to deal with
the financial challenges of population aging.
interRAI is a collaborative network of researchers in over 30 countries
committed to improving health care for persons who are elderly, frail
or disabled. Our goal is to promote evidence-based clinical practice
and policy decisions through the collection and interpretation of high
quality data about the characteristics and outcomes of persons served
across a variety of health and social services settings.
RBC is Canada's largest bank as measured by assets and market
capitalization and among the largest banks in the world, based on
market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading
diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and
commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate
and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global
basis. Our approximately 74,000 full- and part-time employees serve
close to 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional
clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 55 other countries. We
strive to have a positive economic, environmental and social impact and
to provide responsible leadership wherever we operate.
For further information:
Kathy Bevan, RBC Corporate Communications, (416) 974-2727, firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Koreck, University of Waterloo, (519) 888-4567, ext. 36978, email@example.com