The Canada Family Life Project finds immediate action needed
What Canadians say about elder care.
The much awaited results of The Canada Family Life Project were recently published; a poll undertaken by Nanos Research which surveyed Canadians about children, child care, marriage and caring for their elders. Part of its aim was to add to the very limited body of research providing information about marriage and family aspirations in Canada. Its findings are largely applicable to the rest of the world as well.
This article is the first of three articles discussing The Canada Family Life Project and concentrates on its findings regarding elderly care, something that is quickly becoming a critical public-policy issue in countries around the world. I am a little late in bringing these results to you because my grandmother died last week. Watching my own family now make decisions about my granddad’s care (he has Parkinson’s disease and my grandmother previously visited him every day in a care facility he recently moved into close to their home) made reading the findings seem more immediate.
In ten short years the number of seniors individual Canadians expect to personally care for will double, and the report finds that Canadians are very concerned about how they will care for aging parents. Three out of four Canadians say caring for their aging parents is very important, but only one in five Canadians think society is doing a good job to help with this.
The number of people in Canada over sixty-five will increase from 15 percent of the Canadian population to 24 percent by 2038. Currently 45 percent of Canadians provide some care for an elderly person, with almost one in ten Canadians providing care for both parents. Caregivers already report some stress in caring for the elderly, a stress that will likely shortly double.
The biggest reported challenge by far was time, work scheduling and availability. Employed caregivers often experience tension between work roles and family roles. This tension may be even greater in the future as a result of more women working full-time as dual earners with their partners than has historically been the case. Following on from this, financial stress may be greater when a full-time earner is required to provide significant care to a family member. Both employers and families will increasingly need to consider how to address work/life balance in this regard.
Other significant challenges to family care identified in the study by caregivers were: money; emotional, physical and mental exhaustion; and personal health. Geographical distance also increases the stress on natural caregivers.
So what are the solutions? Almost 20 percent of respondents indicated that access to care, better care, or community care would be a realistic and helpful solution to the increasing need for elderly care. Another 18 percent suggested that financial assistance or subsidisation would offset senior care challenges. Just under 15 percent expressed support for home care. Others thought that senior care was a personal responsibility to be managed by the family; just over one in ten Canadians prefer the government to take a hands-off approach to elder care.
The results show that there is a need for robust discussion and resulting action on this issue, not just in Canada but in the many countries facing these issues around the world.
Will there be enough work? That’s the basic question facing developed economies with flat growth as employment shifts from agriculture and manufacturing to services. It appears that there might not be jobs for the uneducated and unskilled.
One response to this is the idea of a universal basic income: the government gives everyone, rich and poor alike, a monthly stipend just for showing up for lunch. As a solution for unemployment, it has pedigree. Back in 1516 Thomas More mooted it inUtopia. One of his characters observes: "Instead of i[hanging thieves by the dozen], it would be far more to the point to provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody’s under the frightful necessity of becoming, first a thief, and then a corpse."
One American journalist has called the UBI the “world’s simplest plan to end poverty” and the idea is gaining traction in the media. Finland is considering it. However, Swiss voters rejected it overwhelmingly in a referendum earlier this month. In our lead story today, Alejo Sison argues that a key question is missing from the debate: the dignity of work.
|A universal basic income won’t do everyone good|
Alejo Jose G. Sison | FEATURES | 20 June 2016
What if there isn’t enough work to go around?
|A fanfare of failures|
Juliette Peers | POPCORN | 20 June 2016
Why have so many recent films celebrated artistic and sporting failures?
|Murder and intrigue at the seaside|
Carolyn Moynihan | FEATURES | 20 June 2016
MercatorNet readers reveal their favourite crime reads for the beach.
|A picture perfect book for vacation reading|
Jennifer Minicus | READING MATTERS | 20 June 2016
A picture book worth the investment
|The Canada Family Life Project finds immediate action needed|
Shannon Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 20 June 2016
What Canadians say about elder care.
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