The Long Term Care Association of Ontario is calling on the province to take immediate action to modernized long-term care homes and improve dementia care.

The association argues with more than 60% of seniors living with Alzheimer's or related dementias in long-term care homes province-wide, newer homes create a better, safer environment for residents and staff.

"The needs of seniors in Barrie and Simcoe County entering long-term care have risen dramatically in recent years," said Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. "Too many seniors are living in homes that need to be rebuilt and modernized. Too many seniors with dementia aren't getting the supports they need to ensure their comfort and safety. Our seniors deserve better care."

The association claims 25% of Barrie seniors are living in homes that are outdated and need to be modernized.  The population of seniors over the age 75 in Simcoe and Muskoka is expected to grow by 54% in the next 10 years.

The association’s plan for action “Better Seniors Care,” is calling on the provincial government to provide more funding for much needed upgrades to  long-term care homes and so operators can hire the required staff.

 They also want the government to provide long-term care homes with dedicated resources to protect and care for the more than 65,000 seniors living with dementia and responsive behaviours.

Long-term care operators say they’re ready to put money up too, but need the provinces to do more.

We continue to provide the highest quality of care possible to our residents." said David Jarlette, President, Jarlette Health Services. "But there is work to be done to ensure residents across the province are getting the care they require as their needs continue to increase."

The provincial government says it’s already put $20M into hiring professionals to work with those living with dementia and has heard the call for more.

“We’re working on it, we also have an expert panel working on it to give us recommendation on how to cope with the problems that are in long term care area,”  Ann Hogarth, member of provincial parliament for Barrie.

Solutions that operators say will be critical in the near future and years to come.