Census: Alone, with friends or with family, Canada's seniors broaden lifestyle options
Linda Nguyen, Toronto Star
More of Canada’s 5 million seniors are staying together as couples in retirement, newly released census data shows.
Among those aged 65 and older, 56.4 per cent of Canadians were living as part of a couple in 2011, up from 54.1 per cent in 2001, Statistics Canada reported — likely a function of healthier, more active baby boomers now reaching the age of retirement.
But the ravages of time eventually leave one partner — usually the woman, given their longer life expectancy and tendency to wed men who are older than they are — facing difficult choices about whether to live alone, move in with family members or join a retirement community.
More than half of Canadian seniors in their 90s were living in private households, including 28.7 per cent who lived alone, 12.2 per cent who were in couples and 15.7 per cent who lived with others, including adult children, Statistics Canada said.
Even modern-day centenarians are clinging to an independent lifestyle: one-third of them lived in private households, and 11.5 per cent of men aged 100 and older were still living as part of a couple.
Toronto resident Arden King, 77, found herself at a crossroads two years after her husband died. She knew it was time to accept that the tall old Victorian house with lots of stairs she had lived in for 40 years was no longer the right home for her.
“My joints kept getting replaced so I thought, I gotta get out of here,” King laughed. One option she quickly crossed off her list was the idea of moving back in with any of her three adult children.
“Never. Ever. For their sake and for mine,” said King, who used to work in publishing. “I can spend a weekend with them and have a lovely time, but not live with them.”