A woman caring for her older mother is told she cannot make a direct application to a specialized provincial home-care program because her mother needs a referral from a case coordinator. She waits 2 months before her mother gets assigned a coordinator, and then a couple more for assessments and a doctor’s letter. Finally, she submits the 10-page application form, which takes her 12 hours to complete, and is then told she will have to wait 2 to 3 months more to get a response.

Among older Canadians and their caregivers, stories like this are all too common.

Navigating our often-fragmented systems of support and care in Canada can be an arduous task, but it is especially so for older adults with complex health conditions. Many struggle on their own to find and access services or have to rely on families to do it. Canada needs, straight away, a dedicated strategy to transform the navigation of supportive services from a private struggle into a public responsibility.

Read more in Policy Options.