Perley Health Transforming Care for Seniors and Veterans

Perley Health plans to double the number of seniors served by 2035. A single concept — transforming care for Seniors and Veterans — links to this plan. To fully understand this concept requires some familiarity with demographic trends and current approaches to care.

“The population of Canadians over age 85 is going to triple in the next 20 years,” says Perley Health CEO Akos Hoffer. “This growth threatens to overwhelm our healthcare and long-term care systems.”

While we all aim to age gracefully, the reality is that most people over the age of 85 tend to gradually lose their ability to live independently and require increasing amounts of care. Often, friends and family members provide this care, while those who can afford it opt for private retirement homes and caregivers. The number of adult children available to provide unpaid care is expected to shrink dramatically, however, largely because most so-called baby boomers had smaller families. As a result, demand for publicly funded long-term care (LTC) will rise dramatically.

Coping with this growth is a complex and multi-faceted challenge. Part of the solution is to expand LTC capacity and the Government of Ontario's plan to add 30,000 LTC spaces is clearly good news. Today, nearly 40,000 Ontarians are unable to access LTC. And homes across the province are already struggling to cope with shortages of skilled labour. Both problems are expected to worsen significantly as demand for LTC increases.

Another aspect of the challenge involves frailty, a medical condition of increased vulnerability. When a person living with frailty becomes ill or suffers an accident, they tend to recover more slowly and often require additional supports. Many end up in hospital, the most costly place to deliver care. And with most hospitals already experiencing capacity issues, the problem will only get worse.  

The concept of transforming care for Seniors and Veterans envisions a holistic solution. And Perley Health continues to make significant progress toward this goal. To identify, evaluate and share evidence-based best practices in care, for instance, the Perley Health Centre of Excellence in Frailty-Informed CareTM conducts and partners in much-needed clinical research. To help address the shortage of certified caregivers, students of Algonquin College's Personal Support worker and Registered Practical Nurse programs study in a classroom at Perley Health and serve practicums alongside staff. To meet the needs of people living with dementia, Perley Health operates a Day Program, Respite House at Perley Health and a Specialized Behavioural Support Unit. And Perley Health continues to work with the Government of Ontario to expand LTC capacity.

Strategic partnerships and strong donor support drive these projects and Perley Health's capacity to transform care. Last year, Perley Health Foundation's Answering the Call Capital campaign achieved its fundraising goal of $10 million. Partnerships with organizations such as the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Public Health Agency of Canada and AGE-WELL enable Perley Health to develop and share innovations in care.

“Our staff, donors and partners recognize that the work we do makes a tangible difference in the lives of Seniors and Veterans across Canada,” says Akos Hoffer. “All donations, regardless of size, support this effort. On behalf of the entire Perley Health community, thank you!”

By Peter McKinnon

April 15, 2024

Akos Hoffer, CEO Perley Health