Health, Poverty and the Elderly: Can the Courts Make a Difference


  • Margaret A. Shone



This article analyzes the relationship among health, poverty and the elderly and provides a basis for understanding the problems facing the aging population. The author suggests that the existing universal health care system in Canada has serious limitations in ameliorating these problems. She proposes that a combination of strategies such as improving the financial position of the elderly poor, reallocating health care resources from hospital to community care, and assisting elderly poor to exercise their rights could remedy shortcomings in our health care system. The courts can play a role in ameliorating the harsh effects of law and policy on elderly persons experiencing poverty and failing health. However, the author cautions that in the long run it is governments that must provide educational and remedial measures to address the root causes of these problems.