Caring for Aging Parents Costs Canadians $33 Billion

As we age, life can become increasingly more and more expensive. Let’s face it: living a sustainable quality of life once your working days are through can be a pricey proposition. Factor in unexpected health issues popping up and needing the helping hand of a third party, and all-of-sudden bills and time can turn into tall mountains. In many situations, this is when younger family members are turned to for greater support and assistance.

According to a new report, Who Cares: The Economics of Caring for Aging Parents, it is costing Canadians $33 billion a year in direct out-of-pocket expenses and time off work, to care for aging parents. What’s more, it is estimated that direct and indirect costs associated to this matter will increase 20% over the next decade – mainly thanks to shifting demographics.

Last week, we learned through the 2016 Census that there are currently more people aged 65+ living in Canada than there are children (14-years-old and younger.) Interestingly, the fastest growing age group in Canada is the 100+ crowd.

“An aging population combined with longer life spans and strained social services has in recent years seen more and more Canadians taking on the role of caregiver for their aging parents, and in the coming years, that tendency is only likely to intensify,” comments CIBC’s Deputy Chief Economist and co-author of this report, Benjamin Tal. “Add in the fact that costs associated with the elderly are already rising faster than the pace of inflation because of the high demand for such goods and services, and you can see that this will be a major concern for a growing number of Canadians in the years to come.”

Canadian Money

Tal’s report also went on to note that 14% of Canadians (two million in total) with parents 65+, pay for care-related out-of-pocket expenses. On average, he explained, the average cost is $3,300 a year per caregiver, which equates to over $6 billion “to the overall economy.”

Income levels are also at play here, with the report stating that those who earn below $50,000 a year, spend an average of 30% more on providing care for parents than those in higher income brackets.

“Close to 30 per cent of workers with parents over the age of 65 lose roughly 450 hours per year of time off work to attend to the care needs of aging parents, with the largest impact falling to women and lower income earning Canadians,” says Tal. “That translates into roughly $27 billion of lost income or foregone vacation time.” Tal adds that these statistics don’t take into account the possibility of individuals missing out on better employment opportunities, because of a hectic caregiving schedule.

-Adam Grant

On a recent episode of theZoomerLibby Znaimer and a round table of health care experts discussed ways to deal with and alleviate ‘caregiver burnout.’ You can watch that episode right here: