n 1984, the majority of Canadians were under 31 years old.

That’s changed significantly. In 2014 Statistics Canada estimated half the population of Canada is under 41 and half over 41, a shift of nearly 10 years. Canadians are getting older and senior care has become a pressing issue, in Chatham-Kent and across the nation.

It’s not a new issue for staff at Meadow Park Long-Term Care. The smallest of three long-term care facilities in Chatham proper, Meadow Park has been petitioning the provincial government for year on issues like additional funding and trend-based care solutions.

They lobby through the Ontario Long-Term Care Association, which represents most long-term care facilities in Ontario.

“We do this every year,” said Anne-Marie Rumble, administrator with Meadow Park. “This is not new … we do it around this time of year each year. It’s been different every year. Sometimes it’s a petition signing, sometimes it’s a card signing, it’s a letter writing. Just depends on what the flavour of the year is going to be.”

Last year the OLTCA encouraged letter-writing campaigns across the province. They had messages and letters to choose from, and Meadow Park encouraged residents and family members to go online and join the effort.

Together they collected 1,621 letters just in Chatham-Kent. The letters were sent to MPP Rick Nicholls, who meets with Meadow Park staff annually.

“The letter-writing seems to go over a little bit better,” said Lydia Swant, co-ordinator of volunteer services with Meadow Park. “Every year it’s a little more engaging, I think.”

Read the rest at Chatham Daily News.