Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Oldest Seniors Present Unique Challenges for Policy-Makers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Oldest Seniors Present Unique Challenges for Policy-Makers

Article excerpt

More older Canadians than ever: census

--

OTTAWA - Aging baby boomers are once again getting the lion's share of attention as they swell the ranks of the oldest people in the country.

New census data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada showed Canadians over the age of 65 now outnumber those under the age of 15 for the first time.

However, one expert says it's not just newly minted senior citizens who should be on the radar screen. It's those who are over 85, a group that grew almost 20 per cent in the last five years.

"This is a population that we haven't paid a tremendous amount of attention to," said Colin Busby, associate research director for the C.D. Howe Institute. "I'm talking about those 85 and up or those 100 and up."

The census counted 770,780 Canadians aged 85 or older in 2016. This cohort grew almost four times as fast as the population as a whole between 2011 and 2016.

There were 8,230 people at least 100 years old, a group that grew 41 per cent compared with five years earlier.

"We're likely to continue to see that kind of expansion," said Busby. "This is very interesting for a whole number of reasons."

As populations age, the health issues related to aging, including dementia, will grow. Higher proportions of people over the age of 85 also live alone, most of them women. Busby said it struck him there are almost twice as many women as men among those over 85. Many of those would have cared for a spouse until their death, but now have to rely on their children or government supports if they want to stay in their homes.

That includes help even just for basic tasks such as buying groceries, cooking and doing laundry, he said.

"The demographic issues in that group are acute, they're ongoing," said Busby. "We still don't have very good solutions to helping out people in those age groups maintain their autonomy and maintain their ability to live in their homes as long as they would like. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.