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Investing In Healthy Aging: A Path To a Brighter Canada

Earlier this year, the Fraser Institute published a report looking at the long-term economic effects of our aging population in Canada. Our population is aging rapidly. With an increasing number of adults reaching retirement age, our country is experiencing a dramatic demographic shift. While some may say this trend speaks to our improved healthcare and living standards, it also presents a double-edged sword. Between 2010 and 2020, the percentage of seniors in our population increased from 14.1% to 18.0%. That's a 3.9% increase! During the same period, the median age jumped by 1.1% from 39.8 years old to 40.9. It is clear that our population is gradually getting older.

Thankfully, this data is being collected and Canadians are now understanding the long-term consequences that could arise should this trend continue or even become exacerbated. What can we individually do to combat this trend and ensure a brighter and healthier future for Canadians? Let's shift the focus to the concept of Healthy Aging. Let's talk about why healthy aging is essential and why investing in a system that promotes it is so important.

What Exactly Do We Mean By “Healthy Aging”?

"Healthy aging" is a concept that refers to the process of growing older while maintaining physical, mental, and social well-being, as well as a high quality of life. It emphasizes the importance of staying active, engaged, and independent as individuals age. Healthy aging is not merely the absence of disease or disability but encompasses a holistic approach to aging that focuses on various aspects like physical health, social engagement, independence, and so much more!

Investing in Healthy Aging

Together, if we work to pivot to an approach that includes preventative measures, support systems, and access to resources for seniors, we can change this trajectory. Here are a few points that the Fraser Institute makes on why investing in healthy aging makes sense:

Reducing Healthcare Costs

Preventative measures, such as encouraging healthy lifestyles, improving access to healthy meals, investing in accessible infrastructure, and providing access to healthcare resources, can help seniors stay active, and maintain their well-being and independence. This, in turn, can reduce the strain on our healthcare system.

Support for Caregivers

Healthy aging doesn't only impact seniors; it also affects their caregivers. By investing in programs and services that support caregivers, we can ease the burden on Caregivers, allowing them to remain productive members of our community and our economy.

Helping the Greater Economy

Healthy aging can contribute to a more productive workforce. When older adults are healthy, they can continue to make valuable contributions to the economy. Think about yourself. If you are unwell and sick, this will impact your ability to work. Most likely, your money will go toward medication and supporting yourself through treatment. The same holds true for our aging population. As we continue to age, more and more capital and resources will likely pass through the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, and less and less may go towards other sectors. 

Stronger Communities

Healthy aging fosters stronger, more resilient communities. Seniors who are active and engaged in their communities can provide mentorship, volunteer, and contribute to social cohesion, creating a positive impact on our community.


What Should We Be Investing In For The Future?

So, let's not leave healthy aging to chance. We need to be proactive and Canadians have a vested interest in supporting healthy aging. So what can we do to change course and invest in the future? Here are some tips from the Fraser Institute.

Promote Healthy Lifestyles

Encourage and provide convenient and affordable access to regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, and mental health resources.

Preventive Healthcare

Provide healthcare capacity to provide regular check-ups and screenings to detect and manage chronic conditions early.

Technology and Innovation

Invest in technology solutions that enhance the independence and safety of seniors, such as mobility aids, medication dispensers, and fall detection systems.

Government & Policy Initiatives

Policies that support healthy aging, including funding for senior healthcare services, affordable housing, access to affordable prescription medications, and community programs. 

Accessible Healthcare Services

Ensure that healthcare services are accessible to seniors, including those in rural and remote areas.

Age-Friendly Communities

Safe, accessible, and inclusive communities for seniors, with features like well-maintained sidewalks, park benches, and accessible transportation options.

Supportive Caregiving

Support for family caregivers who play a crucial role in assisting elderly loved ones.

Creating a culture and system that supports healthy aging is not just a nice-to-have. It's essential for the well-being of individuals, and the sustainability of our healthcare system. Incorporating healthy aging is an ongoing effort that requires a collective commitment from many. By focusing on preventive measures, in addition to implementing meaningful changes we can create an environment where seniors can age with dignity, vitality, and a high quality of life.

This article is meant to be informational in nature and should not replace the advice of a trained healthcare professional or financial professional. What works for some individuals, might be harmful to others. Consult a professional before making any significant changes.

Blog by: Maor Tsitrin, Marketing & Communications Assistant
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