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Latest national poll shows primary seniors health issues

Research by the Brain Project shows the top health concerns of Canadian seniors in 2020, including dementia, brain research and residential care. 

With the impact of COVID-19 on senior living centres across Canada being so high, it’s no surprise that the whole issue of seniors health and care has become increasingly important to Canadians, especially their children who are often left to struggle with maintaining care, contact and negotiating a complex health care system.

Recent research released bu the Baycrest Foundation along with support from the Yogen Fruz Brain project highlighted residential care (92%) and dementia (905) as the two primary areas that need to be addressed by governments across Canada. Social Isolation (85% and well-being / lifestyle support (84%) were not far behind.

Even younger generations, who were also surveyed, had similar concerns. Where 18-34 years olds (87%) and 35-54 year olds (88%) agreed with the overall findings, especially when it came to brain health research such as Alzheimers.

“Canadians overwhelmingly feel that more can be done for the well-being of older adults in this country,” said Josh Cooper, President and CEO of The Baycrest Foundation. “Now is the time to turn these beliefs into action and safeguard aging Canadians.”

Younger Canadians, under 35 seem to clearly understand the benefits of focusing on brain health as we age as well. 87% of those surveyed understood the value of learning a new language as we age, while others felt learning a new instrument and staying socially active was also key to better mental health for seniors. If you have ageing parents, encouraging them to exercise their brains is clearly an advantage.

“There is so much people can do at any age to reduce the risk of cognitive decline,” said Cooper. “Being educated, staying in good health and exercising can reduce your dementia risk by 28 per cent. Additionally, speaking two languages can delay the onset of dementia by four years.”

The issue of residential care is being driven by the amount of cases and deaths in homes during the pandemic and will remain of concern should a second wave hit Canada later in 2020. It has also brought to the forefront general living conditions and care giving standards with a number of provinces launching investigations. An issue we will be following up on.

More Insight: Check out this great list of the top foods for a healthier liver as you age.

Author: Alex Hurst is a staff writer for HUM@Nmedia, the parent brand for Silver Magazine based in Nova Scotia, Canada.