Senior-power, gerontocracy, greedy-geezers, intergenerational-inequity – and the list goes on.  The pejorative labels attached to the aging population and the perceived greater share of the resources that they will demand and receive.  A sense of insecurity is on the rise as fiscal debt grows and governments and businesses alike implement restrictions on benefits.  Most of the arguments would like us to believe that the older population is living in a vacuum, unconcerned about family members and society at large1.  That older Canadians will make decisions that reflect their need and not those of the younger generation.  This simply is not true.

Economic challenges will continue to arise in all sectors due to demographic changes and the increased personal and government debt loads.  Some will suggest that social supports such as health care for older persons or pensions need to be rationed.  But this overlooks the effect on the family and on employers.

Consider one scenario – eldercare.  There is no doubt that this is a growing challenge.  Employers now find themselves grappling with an aging workforce who also has aging family members.  One outcome is the need for their employees to become increasingly involved in elder care and this could be the most significant business issue of the 21st century.  Caregiving is only one of the many ways that employees and services will change due to the health care needs of our aging population.

Service providers that understand the challenge of the aging population from the broader viewpoint of the entire issue will excel with demographic change.

Canada’s informal caregivers to the elderly (source:  Statistics Canada)

Age of Caregiver

%

45-54

39.8

55-64

32.8

65-74

17.1

75+

10.3

 

Footnote #1:  Binstock, R.H. (2010), From compassionate ageism to intergenerational conflict?, The Gerontologist, 50, 574-585.