Since 2014, the second week of June in Canada has been recognized as Men’s Health Week, an occasion to promote healthy living and build awareness of the health issues affecting men.
Generally speaking, men live more unhealthy lives compared to their female counterparts. The life expectancy of women in Canada is 84 years compared to 80 years for men. That number drops to 46 years for men who are homeless.
Men who are homeless live
half as long as men who are housed.
The dramatic difference in life expectancy of housed and non-housed men speaks to the rigors of life on the street and the barriers to healthy living and health care.
People who are homeless are more vulnerable to physical and mental health problems. They are more vulnerable, period. Over half of Toronto’s homeless population has been assaulted at least once in the past year.
Did You Know:
Approximately 30 percent of homelessness people
suffer from at least two medical conditions.
This likelihood doubles in individuals aged 50 and over.
Considering the comorbid conditions, it should be no surprise that people who are homeless use emergency rooms more than most. For elder homeless men, that number is 9 times more than men in the general population.
It is also not uncommon for people who are homeless to return to the hospital weeks after being released; it can be a cycle caused by no place to recuperate and nobody to take the role of a caregiver.
Adding to the challenges tied to recovery is the lack of a healthy diet. Two-thirds of people who are homeless report going hungry at least one day a week. 100 percent of the people Haven Toronto serves are food insecure having not only missed a meal but gone a day or days without eating due to a lack of money.
Haven Toronto reduces barriers
to health care and healthy eating.
With a full-time nurse and counsellors and a part-time doctor onsite, Haven Toronto is able to reduce the barriers to health care for elder men. Clients can also access healthy, nutritious meals three times daily, 365 days a year. With summer a week away, one cannot help but think about the holidays. That said, homelessness never goes on vacation, and neither does Haven Toronto.