The times they are a changin’


Statistics Canada recently released data from its 2011 census which confirms what you might already suspect – we are getting old.

In 1971, 8% of the population was 65 years of age and older. By 2011, that number reached 14.8%. This means that last year, there were approximately 5 million seniors out of a population of 33.5 million Canadians. It is anticipated that in another twenty years, 19% of the population will be 65 and older.

The implications for such growth in the senior population will mean greater strain on healthcare and social programs used by seniors and increased demands on government pensions and families. The federal and British Columbia governments are already preparing for the changing demographics.

Healthcare and social programs will need to modify in order to meet the needs of an aging population who typically require services for multiple and chronic medical conditions.

The federal government announced that the age of eligibility for Old Age Security pension will incrementally increase to 67 years old starting in 2023. These changes are being introduced in order to financially sustain the OAS program for all Canadians.

An aging population will affect not only government agencies, but family members who must cope with the added responsibility of caring for aging loved ones. In some cases, this may necessitate making a court application to gain guardianship over a parent who can no longer care for themselves or their finances. In British Columbia, mandatory mediation will be required in disputes that involve older adults and their guardianship.

The above will impact the healthcare, lifestyle choices and estate planning decisions of all Canadians, not just those over 65.