Think tank suggests using Canada Post workers to check on seniors living at home

Supporting Canada’s growing population of older adults looking to live in their own homes and communities requires new ways of thinking and one option is using Canada Post workers to look in on them, according to a new policy report from the National Institute on Ageing (NIA).

Titled ‘Special Delivery: How Canadian Postal Workers Could Better Enable Ageing in the Right Place’, the report looks at Japan, France and the UK Channel Island of Jersey, which have implemented this startegy to determine how this kind of service could work here.

“With growing health care worker shortages and fewer family members and friends available to provide care and support for their loved ones as they age, we need to look at other sources of potential support to better enable older Canadians age in the right place,” says Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of Health Policy Research for the NIA. “Regular visits by postal workers could become a key preventive and supportive measure in Canada to allow for the early identification of health issues and facilitate the necessary care and support that can potentially allow more older Canadians to age with confidence in their own homes for as long as possible.”

Postal workers are uniquely suited to offer these supportive visits: they travel door-to-door, even in rural and remote regions; their union has already proposed expanding their offerings to include community supports; a federal review has recommended implementing this as a way to make Canada Post more financially viable, and surveys show postal workers are one of the most trusted professions in Canada, the NIA said in a media statement.

“The three programs discussed in this report include different combinations of services, but all have shown substantial success in better enabling ageing in place while also increasing revenue for the postal services involved,” added Spencer Naylor, NIA Junior Research Fellow and lead author of the report. “Canada doesn’t have to start from scratch: we can draw on their experiences to develop a similar program that will meet this country’s unique needs.”

The National Institute on Ageing is a think tank at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) focused on the realities of Canada’s ageing population.



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