Canadians count the cost of caring as population ages

Angus Reid study says 1 in 4 over 30s are looking after a loved one

Canadians count the cost of caring as population ages
Steve Randall

Canada’s aging population is creating challenges for seniors and their families according to a new report.

The Angus Reid Institute says that 1 in 4 Canadians over 30 are providing at least some level of care for a relative but many people are concerned about the impact on their finances and lives.

There are now more over 65s in Canada than there are children (14 and under) and this aging population trend is likely to mean more people are looking after loved ones. The study finds that 33% expect to do so in the future.

Most of these carers are in their 40s and 50s and at a time when they should be preparing for their own retirement, many are facing financial pressures from their caring roles.

Nearly 3 in 10 carers said that they are concerned that they or the person they care for will not be able to afford the care they need. A recent CIBC analysis put the cost of caring for aging parents in Canada is a collective $33 billion including $6.6 billion in out of pocket expenses and around $27 billion in lost productivity and income.

Lower-income earners more impacted
The Angus Reid Institute survey highlights the larger impact felt by carers on lower incomes compared to their wealthier peers.

Apart from the impact on their daily lives generally, these lower income carers are more impacted financially.

Private expenditures on home and long-term care are projected to outpace household disposable income growth by 1.5 times between now and 2035 and in every province except Québec, caregiver tax credits are non-refundable and treated as supplemental income, effectively rendering them out of reach for unemployed caregivers and those without sufficient income from other sources.

Women are twice as likely as men to say that their daily lives are affected by caring for a relative.

The survey also reveals that today’s over 30s would prefer to stay in their own homes if they were no longer able to live independently.