• The percentage of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) spent on health services has been constant at about 10% for over 20 years, with about $148 billion – public and private funds combined – spent on health care in 2006. If it were spent equally throughout the year, national health expenditure would be approximately $17 million per hour.

    Karen’s View: Yikes! Why then can’t we get a glass of juice or clean towels in the hospital?

  • Residents of long-term care facilities in Ontario will soon be enjoying better meals, thanks to increased funding from the province.

    George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, has announced increased funding for the meals and snacks enjoyed by seniors in long term care facilities during a press conference at Victoria Village Manor in Barrie.

    Funding for the meals, known as the raw food per diem, will increase from the existing rate of $5.57 per day to $7 per day per resident, effective immediately.

    Karen’s view: The really sad part about this announcement: Nursing homes are “thrilled at this huge jump”. Our governments and we ought to be ashamed at how we treat our most frail and vulnerable citizens. But don’t get me started…

  • The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) took a new poll to find out what services were most important to Canadians, their level of worry as to being able to afford various services in the future, and what services should be a priority for governments.. 55 per cent were very or somewhat confident they would be able to cover long-term expenses and 43% were not.

    Karen’s view: It’s time Canadians got off the stick and took responsibility for both maintaining their health and planning for their long term care. This generation has had it the sweetest in Canadian history; instead of enjoying the highest level of health, however, we are facing an epidemic of obesity. A comment by Andrew Wister, an internationally respected gerontologist and chair of Simon Fraser University’s gerontology department: “Canadians’ Achilles heel is their weight. Comparing the baby boomers today with persons their age 25 years ago, smoking had declined by half; sedentary and infrequent exercise had dropped by 40 percent, and heavy drinking is down by two-thirds,” explains Wister. “But obesity, defined as persons with a body mass index of 30 or higher, has doubled in only 15 years, which has not been offset by only modest improvements in physical activity.”

  • Boomer women are the biggest spenders among women of every age, shelling out more money on everything from electronics to online shopping than their younger or older counterparts.

    That’s among the findings of Forrester Research’s newly released report, Boomer Women = Big Money for Marketers, in which the report’s author Christine Spivey Overby suggests marketers ignore the spending impact of women in the boomer generation.

    Boomer women spend more money in all channels than women from all other generations.

    Karen’s view: As I keep saying in my sessions, boomer women should be a target market for advisors for many reasons, not just because they spend their money!

  • The final item comes from British Columbia:

    Our Canadian health care crisis.

    I live with vascular dementia. I cannot speak for the citizens of the US, but in Canada the governments, both federal and provincial, are deliberately blind to the up and coming crisis that is most definitely looming on the horizon. It would appear to me that, if it isn’t a concern here and now, we do not wish to deal with it – so they shelve or lose it completely. And mark my words; the day is fast approaching when the issue of Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases will be front and foremost. But by then it will be too big a problem and these critical issues will have to be dealt with in a very sad and horrendous manner.

    People will be told, “We cannot afford to look after you, so you must make your own way.” Those who do not have the resources to look after themselves will be lost. The planning should have started at least 40 years ago. I honestly believe that even now it is too late.

    I need to take Aricept to keep my altogether together and our provincial government absolutely refuses to ever put it on the formulary because it is too expensive. The rush has not even started. I dread to think what our world will be like in 10-15 years.

    R. Kilburn British Columbia, Canada

    Karen’s view: As you may know from hearing me speak or reading my articles, for 14 years I had to watch my father slowly lose his mind because of dementia. It is a fate no human – nor their loved ones – should have to endure. Advisors, whether financial, legal or accounting have a tremendous opportunity – in my mind an obligation – to start educating your clients NOW about the chronic conditions that come with aging, including dementia. And understand that awareness is not a single conversation or article or presentation, but rather an organized, planned effort over years that will yield results. When you start to see the fruits of your labours – clients who have prepared themselves for the worst and come through it – you will have them lined up thanking you for guiding them, pushing them, towards planning for long term care.

Contact me; I can help.