As a consequence of the increasing number of elderly people, the proportion of people of working age (20-65) vs. the oldest-old (80+) will decrease considerably. Today, the total annual cost for the care of the elderly (health care and social services) in Sweden is about SEK 110 billion (about 6% of the GNP). The costs of health care are better correlated with the number of remaining years of life than with number of years from birth. The cost of health care during the last year in life is higher for the oldest-old than for the young-old. Informal care of demented persons is about 4-5 times more extensive than formal care. There is a strong correlation between GNP per citizen and resources spent on health care.
Dramatic changes to health and social policy have taken place in Ontario over the last five years with few attempts to measure their impact on health outcomes. This study explored service providers' opinions about the impact of four major policy changes on the health of recent immigrant and refugee communities in Toronto's inner city.
Semi-structured key informant interviews.
Reductions in funding for welfare, hospitals and community agencies were seen to have had major effects on the health of newcomers. Emergent themes included erosion of the social determinants of health, reduced access to health care, increased need for advocacy, deterioration in mental health, and an increase in wife abuse.
Several areas were identified where policy changes were perceived to have had a negative impact on the health of recent immigrants and refugees. This study provides insights for policy-makers, inner-city planners and researchers conducting population-based studies of immigrant health.