An article in the paper caught my eye early this week. We are all living longer - no surprise there. However, it is estimated that in the next 50 years the number of Canadians living to 100 and beyond will jump to close to 80,000! One would expect that because of medical advances, everyone will be in better health for longer however, the cost of healthcare will also be higher. And judging from the last several years, even if we still have some sort of government health plan, what it will cover may be far more limited than what we currently have.
There is already a shift in when people retire. It seems later and later. Many people work, even if only part time, well past 65. That being said, living longer also means needing retirement income for longer. So how much will one need to retire in the future? And how long will the average person have to work in order to have enough money to 'enjoy' retirement?
There are figures on how many people actually buy (and/or maximize the use of) RRSPs and from my recollection the number is fairly low. That being said, there are many people who simply don't have the extra income to buy RRSPs and will be forced to either work well into old age or will be dependent on limited government pensions to make ends meet. The quality of life factor for people living life to over 100 in a difficult financial situation may indeed be quite limited.
Given all of this information, housing for seniors will need to change a bit as well. It seems that we will have to find creative ways of looking after our increasing number seniors who may not have the extra income to pay for care/specialized housing. One can only hope that we use the next 50 years to figure out how to ensure a good and healthy quality of life for all seniors regardless of their age or financial situations.