Forty-two per cent of those aged 70 and older living in private dwellings reported having one or more disabilities—double the rate for those aged 15 to 69. (Black Press Media file photo)

Canadians with disabilities disproportionately hit by COVID-19 pandemic

More than four out of 10 British Columbians aged 70 and up have various disabilities

A report warns the COVID-19 pandemic may have a disproportionate effect on individuals with disabilities.

“Canadians with disabilities may be disproportionately impacted as they may be more likely to have underlying health conditions, or to rely on outside caregivers or support to help with their daily lives,” it reads. “Physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 may also increase the overall vulnerability of Canadians with disabilities.”

The report from Statistics Canada shows individuals aged 60 and older account for one-third of COVID-19 cases nationally, a group also more likely to have disabilities compared with younger age groups. Forty-two per cent of those aged 70 and older (some 1.4 million Canadians) living in private dwellings reported having one or more disabilities – double the rate for those aged 15 to 69 (20 per cent). For British Columbia, the figure was 44 per cent, slightly above the national average.

While local figures concerning individuals with disabilities were less readily available, the Saanich Peninsula ranks among the oldest regions in Canada. Individuals aged 60 and older account for 49.6 per cent of the population in Sidney, 42.4 per cent in North Saanich, and 34.1 per cent in Central Saanich.

RELATED: Tablet donation connects Saanich Peninsula seniors to family and friends

The report warns, among other things, about the effects of social isolation. “Isolation measures, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, may have an increased impact on the overall well-being of persons with disabilities,” it reads. “Over one-quarter (28 per cent) of Canadians reported living alone in 2016, making it the most common household type nationally. Among the 6.2 million Canadians aged 15 and older with disabilities in 2017, 1.3 million (21 per cent) reported that they lived alone.”

For Canadians with disabilities, ‘staying at home’ is not necessarily a new concept. According to Statistics Canada, just over 770,000 Canadians with disabilities considered themselves housebound because of their respective conditions.

Canadians with disabilities often lack the resources to stay in touch, at least virtually. While just over 90 per cent of Canadians used the Internet in 2018, about one-fifth of Canadians with disabilities said that they did not use the Internet, making it more challenging to stay informed and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. conservation officers free not-so-wily coyote

Poor pup was found with a glass jar stuck on its head in Maple Ridge

WEATHER: Heavy rain, mix of sun and cloud forecasted for Ridge Meadows

Temperatures will reach a high of 20 C Thursday

Graffiti plagues downtown Maple Ridge

Often profane and offensive, says downtown BIA

‘Something needs to be done’, collision kills cyclist in Pitt Meadows Tuesday night

39-year-old man from Maple Ridge was pronounced dead at the scene

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

Three screening officers at Vancouver airport test positive for COVID-19

The public is not believed to be at risk of exposure

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

In July, Parliament approved a $600 payment for people with disabilities facing additional expenses during COVID-19

Agreement between province, BC Hydro, First Nation, ends legal fight over Site C

B.C. will work to improve land management and restore traditional place names in areas of cultural significance

UPDATE w/ VIDEO: Stabbing at Killer’s Cove Marina in Harrison Hot Springs

Three suspects apprehended by Agassiz RCMP at the scene

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch first round bye with win

Bandits defeat Guelph 84-70, advance to the CEBL semifinals on Saturday

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Most Read