June is Senior’s Month, a time to consider the health and welfare of an important and growing percentage of the Canadian population, as well as preparing for the future generation of seniors following quickly behind. Currently, there are over 7.7 million Canadians over the age of 60. The image below shows how that demographic is set to explode in the coming decades.
The Global AgeWatch Index by HelpAge.org is the first ever index to measure countries by how well their older populations are faring. According to the index, Canada ranks fourth in the world (overall and for health), just behind Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The US ranks eighth. This index shows that currently, the average 60-year-old Canadian can expect to live an additional 25 years beyond this number, however only 18.3 of those years will be spent in good health. That leaves a shortfall of 6.7 years when each person’s need for healthcare will be greatly increased. We are already realizing a tremendous strain on the healthcare system in 2015 as hospitals face staffing freezes and a growing need for more money to provide workers and services. Combine this with the figures of an expanding elderly population and it is evident that something must be done very quickly.
Canada ranks 4th in the world, but for how long?
The Telegraph reported in 2012 that “increasing longevity is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. People live longer because of improved nutrition, sanitation, medical advancements, healthcare, education and economic well-being.” In Britain, one third of all children born in 2012 are expected to celebrate their 100th birthday. Does this mean we raise the age of seniors (Canada already recently increased the retirement age from 65 to 67) or can we fund seniors who may spend 30, 40, or even 50 years in retirement?
Maybe I’m just being pessimistic. They call the senior years the “golden years,” but I’m just worried that the money might run out and they will be more like “tin-foil years” for me.
We must look forward to the future of healthcare and the time is now to take action. That is why SEIU Healthcare has launched the Rise for Homecare campaign. We’re looking for you to share your stories with us as a PSW, a client receiving homecare, or family member of someone receiving homecare. You can also take action by signing and sending a letter to your MPP to ask for his/her support on this important issue. Visit http://www.seiuhealthcare.ca/rise and you’re just a click away from making your voice heard.