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1.7 Sudburians become senior citizens every day and there aren't enough beds for them

2,400 seniors waiting for a long-term care bed in Greater Sudbury
Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association, visited the Finlandia Hoivakoti Nursing Home Thursday as part of a provincial tour to encourage the government to invest more in long-term care. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.

With around 2,400 seniors waiting to be placed in long-term care homes in Greater Sudbury, the Ontario Long Term Care Association is calling on the province to build capacity for growing demand.

The number of older adults over the age of 75 residing in Greater Sudbury is expected to grow by 38 per cent in the next 10 years and 94.7 per cent in the next 20 years, the association has said. 

On average, Sudbury will see an increase of 1.7 new senior citizens everyday between now and the year 2026.

“The numbers don't work,” said Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. "We obviously need to put more beds in the system in order to prepare for the future."

Chartier was in Sudbury on Thursday, visiting Finlandia Hoivakoti Nursing Home.

The visit was part of a provincial tour to bring attention to the growing demand for more long-term care facilities and staff.

“Too many seniors are living in homes that need to be rebuilt and modernized,” She said. “Too many seniors with dementia aren’t getting the supports they need to ensure their comfort and safety. Our seniors deserve better care.”

According to the Ontario Long Term Care Association, more than 500 seniors in Sudbury live in outdated homes that need to be modernized. 
In addition to space constraints, the number of people who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's continues to increase.

“In the last two years, the amount of residents in long-term care with dementia and Alzheimer's has gone from 62 per cent to 88 per cent,” Chartier said.

While the province's Behavioural Supports Ontario program has trained staff at many long-term care homes how help residents with dementia, hundreds of long-term care homes still don't have specialized staff in-house.

Those homes must rely on mobile Behavioural Supports Ontario teams, and the wait can be up to six to eight weeks, Chartier said.

The Ontario Long Term Care Association has prepared a report called Building Better Long-Term Care and also has an online petition to pressure the government to increase its support for the sector.