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EDITORIAL: Now is the time to think ahead


Nothing is certain except death and taxes.

We’ve gotten used to that adage. But in the meantime, there’s aging, and it’s another inevitability – also, as many have noted, growing older is certainly better than the alternative.

We’re also reminded constantly that we live in a rapidly aging society, with a far greater proportion of seniors than ever before. The reminders are good, because there’s plenty people can do to prepare and make their homes more adapted to residents with limited abilities.

And, as noted by those who help make that happen, people do want to remain in their homes as long as possible before ultimately seeking care in a seniors residence.

A series of articles in Friday’s edition of The News outlined some of the services offered by the VON to help with this. That would include visits by staff to ensure medications are taken correctly, or help with personal care, light housekeeping or mealtimes.

The VON in Pictou County also has a day program that provides people entertainment, games and exercise. The social aspect in such a program is critical for people – regardless of age.

Also in regard to accessibility, New Glasgow company Custom Designing focuses on adaptations that can be achieved in the home to make it safer and more manoeuvrable for older people or those with physical limitations. Wider doors, ramps, floor spaces that will accommodate walkers or wheelchairs; tubs and showers that are more easily accessible would be some examples. It’s not hard to see how this will be a growth industry in Nova Scotia and across the country given our demographics.

On a similar note, there’s no time like the present to think longer and harder about new construction. As suggested by frequent contributor to The News, Ralph Ferguson of Let Abilities Work Partnership Society, we would do well to adopt standards that take the future into account. Any occupant of a home will eventually experience limitations, or they might one day be in a position of trying to sell to someone elderly or with disabilities.

Why not think of those features favouring accessibility in the original construction stage? For too long they’ve been an afterthought, often requiring quite expensive adaptations. At a time when lifespans are increasing, and with a higher ratio of seniors among the population, thinking a few steps ahead is the better economical choice.

Whatever incentives from the government that are in place for upgrades to homes could certainly be added to, particularly in helping elderly or disabled people remain at home. It would not only be the right thing to do, but considering the growing demand for elderly care, it would be a wise investment where our social network is concerned.

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