Culturally Specific Long-Term Care for South Asian Community in GTA

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Bystander to upstander: Long-term Care homes for South Asian in GTA

With a population of 1.56 million people, South Asians have been Canada's largest "visible minority group" since 2006. Just over half of all South Asians in Canada are residing in the Greater Toronto Area (Statistics Canada 2011). Though 54 % of GTA's population are South Asians, we do not have any culturally designated Long Term Care Home for our community.

As a community, we have always depended on our families to provide emotional support and assist our older parents, grandparents, and other family members when they can no longer function independently. With our contemporary Canadian lifestyle, with both parents working, children engaged in their pursuit, our community is increasingly constrained to provide adequate care to our aging loved ones. Fortunately, with improved health care in Ontario, our loved ones can live longer, leading to increased care needs over time, such as increasing frailty, dementia, Parkinson's disease, or advanced cancer. This also expands the caregiving needs and strains our community members as well as our elderly population.

So far, due to our strong cultural beliefs and practices, our Indo-Canadian community does not use the existing Long Term Care Facilities, which are mostly funded by the provincial government. Looking at other communities such as Chinese, Greek, Italian, Dutch, Francophone, Estonian, Slovenian, Lithuanian, Korean, they have one or more Long Term Care (LTC) Homes to provide culturally specific care to their communities. For example, over seven LTC homes are managed by the Chinese communities with a capacity of 1500 beds in GTA alone.

Although Indo-Canadians in GTA form almost 54% of the population, we are paying most taxes, yet we don't have our Long term care home. Some of our Indo-Canadian community members have taken the initiative to connect with the Ontario Government and advocate for our own not-for-profit long-term care home.  We aim to create a place where our seniors now and we in the future could enjoy the home-like environment and, most importantly, Indian food, staff members from our community caring for us, place of worship at the last stage of our lives.

This is high time for our community to watch this issue as a bystander, and we need upstanders now. We need support from all of you to show our community's strength to the Ontario Government. Please sign this petition to support our initiative. 

In Solidarity

Rahul Vashisht, Rajender Narulla, Chandan Kumar, Dr. Sandeepan Bhatia, Sandy Sethi