A Short History of Long-Term Care in Nova Scotia*

  • Jasmine Mah Dalhousie University
  • Benjamin Gallup Ontario College of Teachers
Keywords: institutional care, residential care, nursing homes, history, marginalized populations


The needs of older adults living in long-term care in Nova Scotia and across Canada are frequently ignored. There is historical precedent for this, as the voices of the poor and vulnerable have been under-represented throughout history. This paper aims to summarize the history of long-term care in Nova Scotia, Canada from its 17th-century origins to the end of the 20th century. The influences of key events, poli­cies and concepts are examined chronologically: the systems implemented in Nova Scotia by French and later British colonists, the movement to delineate between categories of poor, the rise and fall of workhouses, and the development of social welfare legislation in Canada in the 20th century. Additionally, the surprisingly persistent stigmatization of poverty and dependence, and social versus health framing for older adult care, are all discussed. The authors hope that, by reflecting on the evolution of long-term care, this may result in better understanding of why contemporary problems are entrenched in our institutions. Through this understanding, tangible solutions might become more feasible.

Author Biography

Jasmine Mah, Dalhousie University

Department of Medicine, Department of Health Policy, London School of Economics & Political Science

How to Cite
Mah, J., & Gallup, B. (2021). A Short History of Long-Term Care in Nova Scotia*. Canadian Geriatrics Journal, 24(1), 77-81. https://doi.org/10.5770/cgj.24.464
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