Today across the provinces, and indeed around the world, we celebrate our elders. While of course paying respect to those who came before us happens all year round, the occasion today is National Seniors Day, which also coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons.
In honor of the holiday, we’re taking a look at 5 facts that remind us why we need to pay tribute to the seniors who have shaped, and continue to shape, our communities:
1) We’ve got a growing population of seniors. In the next 15 years, there will be over 9.5 million seniors in Canada. By 2030, seniors will make up nearly a quarter of the population, and this trend isn’t going to change any time soon. In fact, by 2036 the average life expectancy at birth for women is expected to increase by nearly 3 years.
2) We’ve got a reputation to uphold! According to recent reports, Canada ranks among the best countries to grow old in. According to HelpAge International’s Global AgeWatch Index, seniors in Canada enjoy numerous civic freedoms and one of the best health systems in the region. Despite these successes, more work remains.
3) We’re all in this together. During the last General Social Survey (GSS), findings showed that approximately 1 in 5 Canadians aged 45 or older provide care to seniors. In the time since the last survey, these numbers have almost certainly increased, leading to what some studies have noted nearly $5.5 billion in lost productivity.
4) We’re going to face a number of other challenges before it gets better. Around the world researchers are working to find ways to stop or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease; which is projected to affect nearly 1.4 million Canadians by 2031. As instances of the deadly disease continue to climb, we’re going to need to do more to help one another out.
5) We need to plan for our future together. 9 in 10 Canadians agree that we need to put a national senior strategy in place. What that plan entails, could be determined in part by the outcome of the upcoming Federal Elections.
Of course, these are only a few of the reasons we’re celebrating today. But the message is clear: we cannot afford not to pay attention to our seniors. So what will you do to celebrate National Seniors Day?