Affluent boomers expect cruise ship living on land
Chris Atchison, CTV.ca
When Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page sounded alarm bells over Canada’s looming grey-haired demographic onslaught recently, many people across the country wondered where the federal and provincial governments would find the $46-billion he said is needed this year alone to account for the burgeoning number of retirees.
That investment, he said, was necessary to prepare for the impending burden on the health-care system and to bolster dwindling revenue as the number of taxpayers shrinks.
But there is another issue: how to pay for the surge in retirement facilities needed to accommodate the generation born between 1946 and 1964.
According to Statistics Canada, the country’s senior citizenry is projected to surge from 14.4 per cent of the population this year to 24 per cent by 2041– putting extraordinary pressure on the current 198,739-unit supply of seniors’ housing currently on the market.
In fact, a recent KPMG report predicts that Canada will need an extra 104,000 long-term care beds and 52,000 retirement beds to accommodate seniors by 2016 alone, at a cost of $17-billion.
Although the federal and provincial governments have increased funding for seniors’ residences in recent budgets – most government money goes directly to long-term care facilities, with retirement homes typically owned and operated by the private sector – their investment in new spaces will likely fall far short.
To read the full article: http://www.ctv.ca/generic/generated/static/business/article2204264.html#ixzz1bfB6N2Sw
More information about the science of aging
Elaine O'Connor, The Province
Does science have a “cure” for aging?
Academic longevity studies offer interesting clues to the fountain of youth.There are recent studies touting reservatrol, a chemical found in grape skins and other fruits, as an anti-aging tonic. It was shown in some U.S. studies published in Nature in 2003 to extend the lifespan of fruit flies, worms and fish. It also appears to lower blood sugar and inflammation and cancer in rats, but the results have yet to be proven in humans.
A group of Texan researchers has found that drugs such as the antibiotic rapamycin will slow aging and extend the lifespan of older mice, a discovery touted as one of 2009’s top medical breakthroughs by Science magazine. The drug has also been found to improve learning and memory in mice engineered to develop Alzheimer’s.
Other clinical studies have shown that longevity might simply be inherited. A 2004 U.S. study of the offspring of centenarians published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society surveyed the children of 145 parents who lived to over 100. They found that compared to control groups, they were seven times more likely to live to ages 90 to 99, and were also 23 per cent less likely to develop hypertension, 50 per cent less likely to develop diabetes and 60 per cent less likely to suffer heart attacks.
Mood can also impact seniors’ health. In fact, a recent 2010 University of Iowa study published in the journal Gerontology found the mental well-being of centenarians depended most on past life satisfaction, not on their current health or quality of life. And they discovered that those 80 and older could improve their mood and stave off depression by reminiscing about their lives and sharing memories of happy times.
Exercise is the best medicine for aging
Elaine O'Connor, The ProvinceFew people think of a senior citizen making supper as an Olympic event. But due to the effects of aging, many seniors have to perform at elite-athlete levels, straining at 80 to 100 per cent of their ability just to do simple household tasks.
All over the Okanagan, these would-be senior athletes are being studied, wearing wires and electrodes as they putter about the house or a lab as part of a University of B.C. research project into frailty and how muscles function as we age.
“This is why many older adults require home or assisted care, because these types of activities become too challenging, not because of chronic disease, but just lost physiological capacity,” explains UBC Okanagan assistant professor Gareth Jones of the Healthy Exercise and Aging Lab in the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention.
“But we can retrain that capacity. It’s not lost forever,” Jones added.
According to his research, the older you are, the faster your muscles tire, with fewer rests, leading to increased fatigue. Exercise can help, but 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous activity daily is what’s needed for seniors to remain independent. In other words, exercise is medicine for aging.
To read the full article: http://www.theprovince.com/health/Exercise+best+medicine+aging/5525804/story.html#ixzz1bf4pGC1t
Is BC's social system up to handling the wave of aging baby boomers?
Sam Cooper, The Province
Carole Kaye is perfectly placed to understand the duelling emotions -- generally optimistic but also anxious about the future -- felt by many of B.C.'s baby-boomer generation.
With a chuckle, the 65-year-old from Burnaby says she's part of the "thin edge of the wedge" -- the first of her generation to graduate into senior status this year.
"I always had the sense we boomers were driving the market and employment, and I kind of felt the world was my oyster and I could do anything," she says. "But now, for the first time, our numbers are coming back to bite us."
After retiring as an elementary school principal, Kaye became chair of the Voices of Burnaby Seniors planning table and completed an extensive survey of seniors' needs in 2007. She found that services and systems -- from housing to transportation to health care -- have to be reformed and buttressed to accommodate an already high population of seniors that is set to double in the next two decades.
As health officials point out, an aging society is a good problem to have. B.C. seniors have the longest life expectancies in Canada. But longer lives also lead to greater care needs and increased risk of diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer's and arthritis. While Kaye is optimistic, like many boomers, she's starting to confront mortality and has concerns the social system isn't up to handling the boomer bulge.
To read the full article: http://www.theprovince.com/health/social+system+handling+wave+aging+baby+boomers/5557890/story.html#ixzz1b05ECKfu
Falling is not a normal part of aging
Marian Beauregard, Cottage Country Now.ca
The population of seniors in Canada is growing steadily and our health care expenses are rising too. If Canadians are going to have healthcare dollars for important treatment like cancer, heart and diseases, we will need to prevent our healthcare dollars from being spent on other areas like treating unnecessary falls. Falling is not a normal part of aging. Yet falls that cause serious injuries can restrict independent living in seniors and change their way of life in ways that drain our healthcare dollars, not to mention the pain and suffering to the senior.
For persons over the age of 80, half the population has a fall every year.
For persons over 65 years, a third have a fall every year.
Many of these falls are not serious but consider that 90 per cent of hip fractures are due to falls and 40 per cent of nursing home admissions are due to falls.
Falls can be a very serious matter. If we can reduce the number of falls by 40 per cent, we can free up hundreds of beds in nursing homes, save millions of healthcare dollars, and keep our senior population independent and active and in their own homes longer.
Essay: Adapting successfully to an older population
Dr. Patricia Baird, Special to The Province
The imminent dramatic increase in older people in our population has never been faced before in human history — in a few years, one in four of us in British Columbia will be over 65.
I think this will make us view the human life cycle in a new way. Now, we tend to view “seniors,” people over 65, as a homogeneous group. In fact, in the same way that people from 35 to 65 are not all the same, people from 65 to 95 are very different.
To adjust successfully to the coming major age shift, several aspects of how we live and organize things will have to change. As well as living longer, older people are more active and healthier than ever before, with fewer disabilities. We’ll need to change workplaces and other institutions, and change ageist attitudes, so older people can continue to work and to participate.
What else must change?
Stuck in the middle with you
Maybe 65 is the new 45. Or 90 is the new 45. This age spread is now considered middle age. And that’s not fair to people who really are old.
By Joanne Laucius, The Ottawa Citizen
I discovered recently that I am a Zoomer, at least according to the definition of Zoomer, “Canada’s Boomer lifestyle magazine” which calls everyone over the age of 45 by this zippy epithet.
In one article, Zoomer dispatches photographer Naomi Harris to find “someone who perfectly typifies what it means to be 45-plus in this country.”
Never mind the outliers and the stereotypes, the affluent rock star wannabe, the yoga enthusiast bent on stopping time, the depressed and neglected retiree waiting to die. Find the people whose lives show the diverse ways of aging in Canada.
“Following the cultural discourse about aging in this country, you could certainly be forgiven for thinking that these were the only paths through our golden years; that any diverging trail would be thin and lightly trod, left to the lucky, the brave and the eccentric,” says the preface to the photo essay.
The age spread between 45 and 80-plus is a pretty wide territory to navigate, but Harris does commendably well. Among her subjects: a 99-year-old nun photographed with her walker; a 91-year-old Japanese internment camp survivor, mowing his lawn; a 60-year-old career tree planter with his backpack and shovel; a pair of 60-something Spock Days volunteers in Vulcan, Alta., and a 46-year-old hit-to-pass race car driver.
I’m not sure what hit-to-pass racing is, but based on the photograph of the driver’s scored and crumpled car, it looks like it’s not for the faint of heart.
Much like reaching old age.
To read the full story: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Stuck+middle+with/5513070/story.html#ixzz1aQHyziQQ
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