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Rising seniors population to further impact N.B. healthcare

By Tara Clow Oct 30, 2023 | 1:01 PM

Health leaders recently met to examine New Brunswick’s aging population.

The provincial Association of Nursing Homes conference revealed in the next five years, New Brunswick will see an increase of 26,300 residents who are over 65 years old.

Looking at 20 years, the population is predicted to grow by 16 percent.

Sharon Smyth Okana, Senior Vice-President of Client Programs and Nursing says the aging of New Brunswick’s population will translate into an increased prevalence of chronic illnesses, which may pose serious challenges within the near future. “It’s a perfect storm. The health system is already under unprecedented pressure – with overcrowded hospitals, long lines in emergency departments and ambulances backed up waiting to unload. Surgery waiting times have increased and staffing shortages are affecting patients who require long-term care within the
hospital setting.”

The conference says challenges are expected for future healthcare in an already overburdened system.

Vitalité Health Network President and CEO Dr. France Desrosiers says seniors use medical care 2.6 times more often than younger adults.

The conference included health leaders, nursing home managers and human resource management experts highlighting the aspects of long-term care in New Brunswick.

As a part of the conference, Dr. Desrosiers, met with her counterpart from Horizon Health Network to talk about their organizational priorities in care and services for seniors.