Older Canadians more prepared for dying than for living

               Survey says: Seniors a study in contradictions

          -  Majority want to avoid nursing homes, but few planning
                          for independent living  -

    TORONTO, March 5 /CNW/ - A survey designed to provide a 'snapshot' of
Canadians aged 65 to 85 released today provided some surprising results to
those working on the frontlines with aging Canadians.
    According to the recent Living for Today - Ready for Tomorrow survey
conducted by Ipsos-Reid, nine out of ten Canadians between the ages of 65 and
85 have a will, half already have a cemetery plot and 44% have a pre-arranged
funeral. At the same time, much fewer are actually planning or taking the
necessary steps to help ensure they're leading independent lives for as long
as possible.
    "The survey results show a big discrepancy between seniors' desire to
remain in their homes and the plans they're making to reach this goal," says
Holly Quinn, Chief Nursing Officer for Bayshore Home Health, the sponsor of
the survey. "It's inevitable that the health of many people in this age group
will deteriorate at some point in the future, creating a need for support,
different living arrangements or both. Despite this fact, the majority of
seniors have not given much thought to their future needs."
    Independent living is a high priority for older Canadians between the
ages of 65 and 85. Virtually all of them (97%) will attempt to live
independently for as long as they are able. The majority (82%) say they will
do everything they can to avoid moving into a nursing home.
    While independence is a priority for older Canadians, few have planned or
taken the necessary steps to ensure that independence. Less than half (47%) of
older Canadians have researched ways to help themselves live independently at
home. Just over half (51%) have not made any modifications to their home to
ensure it's a safe environment. Fewer than five per cent are staying active
and even fewer (1%) have moved into a smaller space.
    "It wasn't surprising that the vast majority of seniors value
independence and independent living," adds Quinn. "What did surprise us was
how little planning this group had done to plan for tomorrow and ensure their
independence. It's unfortunate, but likely, that at some point in the future
these individuals will be attempting to access services and care during a time
of stress."
    Awareness of home health care is high - three-quarters of older Canadians
have heard of it - but less than half understand the kind of services that
home health care provides. A mere seven per cent of those surveyed receive
home health care. Among those individuals who are not receiving this type of
care, three-quarters have not given it any thought at all.
    Over half of people who are receiving home health care do not know all
their funding options and the ways financial costs can be alleviated. When
pressed to identify these options, an additional 14% admitted they didn't
    "In general, it seems that older Canadians are not seriously planning
home care as an option, even though governments are investing more in this
area to alleviate the burden on hospitals and nursing homes," Quinn offers.
    Many older Canadians (50%) believe they can avoid a nursing home by
relying on their family to care for them. Yet according to the survey,
families don't appear to be talking about the issue. Among those older
Canadians who are not currently receiving home health care, 96% have not
spoken to their families about it.
    "The survey results indicate that seniors are really a study in
contradictions," concludes Quinn. "Independence is a big priority but they are
not planning for their future living arrangements or talking to their family
about what their options might be."

    About Bayshore Home Health

    Bayshore Home Health has been enhancing the quality of life, dignity and
independence of Canadians in their homes since 1966. Canadian owned and
operated, it is the country's largest provider of home and community health
care services, with more than 40 locations and 6,000 employees in eight
provinces. Its specialties are in-home nursing, personal care and home support
- offered directly to consumers and also delivered through government care
programs, personal and group insurance plans, and workplace safety insurance.
The company's other services include nurse and caregiver staffing,
pharmaceutical support services, health education programs, infusion clinics
and dialysis centres. Bayshore Home Health has been a member of Canada's 50
Best Managed Companies program since 2006.

    (*)  These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid poll conducted for Bayshore
    Home Health from November 12 to 20, 2007. The poll was conducted
    among 1,150 adult Canadians between the ages of 65 and 85. The margin
    of error is + 2.9%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was derived to
    have a robust national sample and the data was weighted to reflect
    Canada's regional, age and gender composition of individuals
    aged 65 to 85.

For further information:

For further information: Polaris Public Relations Inc.: Shelley Pringle,
(416) 597-1518, shelley@polarisprinc.com; or Holly Roy, (780) 470-5300,

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Bayshore Home Health

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