Jun 26, 2014
By Jane Brown
As dementia rates increase as part of an aging population, a review is about to be conducted on Ontario’s elder care laws.
Early findings of an influential review by the Law Commission of Ontario suggest provincial laws that dictate how decisions are made for seniors who can no longer decide for themselves are poorly understood, difficult to navigate and can lead to bitter family disputes.
Under current legislation, if a person is unable to make a personal care decision, this responsibility falls to a substitute decision maker. If no power of attorney exists, there is a hierarchy of substitute decision makers that begins with a spouse, then continues with adult children and other relatives before ending with the province.
The law commission is launching public consultations this summer to give people an opportunity to tell their stories, experiences and hopes for change. Lauren Bates is heading the comprehensive review and says “the goal is to produce recommendations that become law.”
The number of Canadians with some form of dementia is expected to double in the next 20 years, from 740,000 to 1.4 million.