Perspectives on seniors’ health care in Alberta

October 20, 2015

The burdens of an aging population on the province’s health care system is an issue weighing heavily on the minds of Albertans today, according to a recent survey by ThinkHQ Public Affairs, Inc. Further, the survey finds that Albertans’ confidence in the health system in relation to seniors’ care is troublingly low, and that most provincial residents are relatively uninformed about what supports and services are available for seniors.

Fully 85% of Albertans today say they are concerned about the health care system being prepared for an aging population, slightly higher than those offering concern about administrative costs and doctor availability. Roughly 8-in-10 also report anxiety in relation to the current services and facilities available for seniors in the province today.

  • Not surprisingly, age bears a direct relationship with concerns about seniors’ care. Those 55 years of age or higher tend to be more concerned about these issues than their younger cohorts.

Public confidence in the system, today and in the future, to deliver seniors’ health care services is very low. Less than one-quarter (23%) of those interviewed agree with the statement “People are living longer than ever before; Alberta’s health care system is keeping pace with patients’ longer life expectancy”. This pessimism about the system is similarly high in relation to hospital, long-term and home care services.

  • Again, age plays a role in perceptions about the health system’s performance and capacity. Those aged 55+ are more likely than younger respondents to register negative feelings.

When it comes to knowledge about and navigating the health care system for seniors, Albertans are not particularly well informed. Under one-half (47%) consider themselves at least “somewhat” well informed about the range of services and supports available, but only 6% say they are “very well” informed.

  • Age plays a role with awareness. Only 36% of those under 35 say are at least somewhat informed about seniors’ health supports and services vs. 59% of those aged 55 or more. However, that means that fully 41% of those who are either now or will soon be considered seniors are NOT informed about the services available to them.
  • Almost 4-in-10 (37%) of family caregivers (i.e., those who are responsible for providing some degree of support for an aging relative or friend) also report that they are not very well informed about how the system works.

To view the details of these results and methodology, follow the link: Perspectives on Seniors Health Care in Alberta

Survey Methodology

These are findings of a ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. poll conducted on behalf of the Alberta Medical Association. The Study was fielded via random sample of online research panels (Voice of Alberta & Angus Reid Forum) between March 19th and 26th, 2015. Participants are Alberta residents over the age of 18, and the sample has been stratified and weighted to reflect the actual population of Alberta, based upon Stats Canada census data. A total of 2010 interviews were conducted for the survey. The online methodology utilizes a representative but non-random sample therefore margin of error is not applicable. However, a probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.

These findings are drawn from research conducted on behalf of the Alberta Medical Association for its albertapatients initiative – an online community that provides Albertans the opportunity to provide input and feedback into the province’s health care system, and help shape the future of health care in Alberta through regular professionally executed survey research. This initiative also acts as a conduit for Alberta’s doctors to report on findings from the survey research.

ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. is a Canadian-based independent public opinion consultancy, and is the Alberta Medical Association’s research partner in the operation of


Alberta Medical Association Mission: Advocate for and support Alberta physicians. Strengthen their leadership in the provision of sustainable quality care.