According to the 2016 census numbers, the Canadian population is collectively getting older. In fact, the number of Canadians aged 65 and up is officially greater than the number of children. And the population isn’t just getting older, it’s living longer as well.
Michael Hann, an associate sociology professor at Western University, explained that this means many middle-aged Canadians are now looking after their elderly parents, children and grandchildren all at the same time because of it.
Although that’s a ton of pressure for a person to be under, the majority of our nation aging isn’t exactly the apocalypse. But it does raise some concerns that we need to start addressing in a public way, like, today.
“This is a great problem to have. We’re living longer, we’re happier, we’re healthier; these are not the worst problems we could ask for,” said Alex Kenjeev, a personal finance expert, in an interview with CTV News. “But there are some challenges financially.”
Categories like pensions, health care and social services all mean one thing: we’re going to need more money. In 2017, the federal government is ready to spend $51 billion on seniors’ benefits; in 2022, that number is projected to be at $64 billion.
As Kenjeev pointed out, though the population of seniors is growing, they’re not all “retirees,” with one in seven people over the age of 65 remaining in the workforce to a certain extent.
“That sounds like a low number,” said Kenjeev, “but that’s actually double where we were at a decade ago, and I think it’s going to double again over the next decade. People really see retirement now as a time to change what they’re doing rather than stop what they’re doing. And part of that comes from us being in much better health.”
Living healthier, longer lives means many are capable of working well beyond the day they finally get that senior’s discount. Plus, we can expect to see home designs starting to change, allowing seniors to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.
It’s going to take the entire nation working together to make sure everybody gets taken care of and that we still have some money left for the younger generations to do the same.