The fraction of Alberta’s population over 65 years of age is expected to steadily increase in coming years, according to the Government of Alberta. Between 2011 and 2021, this segment will increase from approximately 11% to 15%. By 2031, it is projected that about one in five Albertans will be a senior .
Generally, the health and overall life expectancy of seniors continues to improve due to gains in preventive care, treatment and management of disease. However, the occurrence of certain conditions in the general population, including high blood pressure, type II diabetes, obesity, arthritis and other chronic illnesses, means that many upcoming seniors may deal with significant health challenges.
The Punjabi speaking seniors population is uniquely situated in its own realm that coexists with the above realities. Cultural and family values, language, diet and religious beliefs differentiate these individuals from the general population.
There is a necessity for a nursing home tailored to the specific needs of this diaspora. 2016 Census data suggests over 38,840 Punjabi speakers inhabit Calgary which constitute 2.8% of Calgary`s population in 2016.
Northeast Calgary is the largest of health service areas in Alberta, in which the majority of the Punjabi community resides. 29.3% of this community’s population has immigrated in the last five years and 6% of the population does not speak English. A large proportion of this non-English speaking population is facing significant health barriers for its elderly that may require nursing home level care. This population will grow significantly in the next decade .
Current data would suggest there is a large population of elderly Punjabi speakers that presently have such high care needs they likely need a nursing home to care for them but are unwilling to move into such a facility because none exist that provide culturally competent care. As a first step, we are performing a needs assessment to better define this need. Completing our survey would assist us in completing this assessment.
Government has expressed interest in private-public partnerships in addressing the nursing home crisis in Alberta. There is significant precedent to government assisting religious communities with nursing homes, such as the Wing Kei for the Christian Chinese community  and the Ismaili community’s Multigenerational Housing Initiative that recently received ASLI funding .
The statistics above not only outline the great need but also the great benefit of developing a Punjabi culture focused care facility.
Aging Population Policy Framework, Government of Alberta, November 2010. http://www.seniors.alberta.ca/seniors/aging-population-policy.html Accessed Sep 19 2014
Internal Analysis by Alberta Health services, Transition Services department. Unpublished Data. June 6, 2014.
Wing Kei Care Centre for the Christian Chinese community, http://www.wingkeicarecentre.org/ Accessed Sep 19 2014
Ismaili Community’s Multigenerational Housing Initiative, http://ismailimail.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/malik-talib-president-of-the... Accessed Sep 19 2014