There are millions of baby boomers across North America, which are aging the Canadian population at an accelerating rate. In order to meet the needs of these individuals, our healthcare system will need to adapt. Although Canadians are now living longer than ever before, they still frequently use the healthcare system we currently have in place.
What Canadians Are Saying
The Canadian Medical Association recently conducted a poll, which showed that 78% of individuals 45 years and older, are worried about the future of our healthcare system. More specifically, they’re concerned with the availability of both long-term care and home-care services.
Of those polled, 81% also expressed concerns about the quality of care they will receive. After you retire, those years are supposed to be ‘golden.’ Considering 60% of Canadians believe that there will not be not enough services to help seniors live at home longer, this is alarming.
The percentage of the population who are currently seniors is around 15%, compared to 8% of the population in 1971. By the time baby boomers reach the age of 65, it’s estimated that 25% of the population will be seniors.
Strategies need to be put into place now, as waiting will only produce greater concerns. Not only do we need to address healthcare services, but also caregiving support. Currently, over one in four Canadians provide some level of care for a loved one. Of these caregivers, 71% said that their role conflicts with their careers and personal lives. This of course leads to increased levels of stress.
What You Can Personally Do to Protect Yourself
It cannot be ignored that many baby boomers are simply in denial about their current health. In the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s annual report on Canadian baby boomers, it was found that 80% of respondents described themselves as healthy.
However, it was found that 85% of these individuals did not consume enough fruits and vegetables, and 40% did not get enough exercise. In terms of poor habits, around 20% said they were smokers, while 11% were heavy drinkers. As you can imagine, this directly impacts preventable diseases.
Of course awareness is important, which is why it’s important to educate yourself. Today, more than a third of health care costs stem from chronic conditions and diseases. A large portion of these diseases are preventable, so we need to be our own line of defense.
Unhealthy habits tend to be the norm, as tobacco use, lack of exercise, obesity, and poor diet are major contributing factors in our population’s diminishing health. Prevention and management are the first steps when protecting your future health.
Emerging media and technology can actually provide significant support, as these media outlets help consumers make more informed health decisions. Continually educating yourself on what a healthy lifestyle truly is, can help protect yourself. Continuous access to healthy recipes and tips online is an advantage in itself.
Although new strategies most certainly need to be put in place, protecting your own health is your first line of defense. Also, don’t be afraid to educate others, so that more support is created in terms of positive change. We are the future, so let’s make sure that our retirements provide us with our golden years.
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