Canada is a young country but its population is ageing more rapidly than most other western countries.  We have merely skimmed the surface when we talk about what this means for our quality of life over the next several decades.

Headlines forecast demographic doom.  Most examine health care as a silo effected by ageing.  We need to look beyond the delivery of health care to those services that can help sustain our health.  Lifestyle choices, encouraged by an understanding of ageing.  This means having difficult discussions that acknowledge the changes experienced through the later years of life.

 

The reality is clear (click on charts below to make larger):

*Source:  Statistics Canada

 

 

The charts above show that the time to manage our future is running out and Canadians need to be discussing ageing and:

  • Leisure that enhances well-being and reduces social isolation and is economically accessible;
  • Dying with dignity rather than routinely medicalizing care;
  • Challenges of providing services, both formal and informal, to those living in sprawling suburbs (vs. dense cities), often geographically distant from relatives;
  • Building affordable housing options for those with a wide range of abilities, honouring autonomy and enabling independence;
  • Accessible, environmental and economical transportation methods when driving is no longer an option.

Time is precious.  Let’s not wait for another birthday to begin these discussions.