Statistics Canada released the general census information Feb. 9. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Statistics Canada released the general census information Feb. 9. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

EDITORIAL: Canada must prepare for greying population

The rapid growth of Canada’s senior population is nothing new…

Canada’s population is aging noticeably. Right now, one in five Canadians is 65 or older, and the number of elderly people in this country is rising at an ever-increasing rate.

In late April, Statistics Canada released age-related figures from the 2021 Canadian census. According to these figures, seniors over the age of 85 are among the fastest-growing age groups in the country. The number of people in this age group grew by 12 per cent between 2016 and 2021, and the number of seniors 85 and older is expected to triple by 2046.

The rapid growth of Canada’s senior population is nothing new. Between 2001 and 2021, the number of people 85 and older more than doubled.

This demographic trend raises some important questions. The most important is how Canada will care for its aging population. The measure of a society is in how it treats its population, especially those who are in need of additional care.

Those who are in the 85 and older age demographic have unique needs which must be considered and addressed.

At present, there are age-restricted condominium units, care homes and assisted living facilities. There are also waitlists for seniors wishing to move into a care facility that can meet their needs.

Providing care facilities for older Canadians is an important step, but facilities by themselves are not enough.

It is equally important to have trained, qualified staff to help provide the necessary care. In addition, medical care becomes increasingly important as one ages, and providing access to the necessary health care services must be a priority.

Meeting the needs of Canada’s aging population will prove challenging. It will involve taking action now, ahead of a growing wave of elderly Canadians. Failing to do so could be catastrophic for the nation and those about to enter that growing demographic.

— Black Press

Census