According to this article older Americans are not worried about their future – they believe they can maintain their health and live independently as they get older. That’s the intended message. Interestingly enough, the article then lists off some stats about financial security (1/3rd of those surveyed say they won’t be able to afford long-term care) and health (72% of those with an income below $30,000 live with a chronic illness) which paints a picture of uncertainty and insecurity. The message from their stats seems to be: older Americans are actually optimistic about being taken care of.
Optimism is good, but is it realistic? “More than 25% of the people in their 60’s were not confident there would be resources and facilities in their communities to allow them to live independently”. Sure, let’s forget about caretaking responsibilities of the family for a second, there’s still the problem of funding for such community organizations. The seniors’ expectations to be cared for are not met with equal political or financial support for facilities that provide such care, especially for low income seniors. What are the consequences? Political support for more subsidized public services? Staying in the labour force later to afford to ‘buy better care’? Or the most likely long term outcome – overcrowded, understaffed nursing homes for those who can’t afford private care?
Canada’s well established healthcare system, multicultural makeup (encouraging familialist norms and mixed generation households), and more government subsidized community organizations targeting seniors makes us better off than our southern neighbours. We’ll still feel the growing pains, but we’re ready for them.