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Preparing for the Grey Wave

This year Canada reached a tipping point. For the first time in history, there are more people over the age of 65 than there are under the age of 15. The wave of seniors increased four times faster than the overall population in the last year, and that trend will continue. With more and more individuals becoming retired and less entering the workforce we need to prepare for the ‘Grey Wave’.

The ‘baby boomers’ are beginning to hit retirement status, with the first wave turning 65 in 2011. By 2050, 25% or more of the population in Canada will be over 65.

Canada is greying. More seniors, living longer.

Old people red balloons

Old people red balloons

As our population continues to age, a larger percentage of Canadians will be retired. This puts the onus on the working-age to support the systems that retired folks require. Systems like healthcare. Currently, seniors account for about 16% of the population but use about 50% of government funded healthcare.

The hard fact is, that with longer life expectancy, these seniors are in need of healthcare for a longer period of time. And healthcare is just one area of concern with the advancing Grey Wave. More seniors are drawing from the Canadian Pension Plan, and for a longer period of time.

The economy is under a large state of alteration. Less people working translates into less tax payers. Housing costs are up and more seniors are accessing food banks than ever before. This is a concern.

For the most part, we are underestimating the costs associated with aging. We forget to include nursing, physiotherapy, nutrition, occupational therapy, personal support, housekeeping, transportation and so on into our retirement budget. These expenses add up and these things are at the top of the needs for the Grey Wave.

Old man smiling

Old man smiling

Although there isn’t one solid answer to the concerns of this approaching wave, economics dictates we need more workers, we need to earn more (early retirement is a thing of the past) and we need to cut back (mostly on administration costs i.e. more personal support workers, less administrators).

What can you do? Get yourself ready. And start now.

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