Saturday October 1, 2022 | NATIONAL
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
On October 1 each year, Canada recognizes National Seniors Day.
The recognition coincides with the United Nations International Day of Older Persons and is an occasion for Canadians to celebrate the profound contributions of seniors in our homes, communities and workplaces. The 2022 theme is ‘Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World’.
The objectives of #UNIDOP2022 are:
- To highlight the resilience of older women in the face of environmental, social, economic and lifelong inequalities
- To raise awareness of the importance of improved world-wide data collection, disaggregated by age and gender
- To call on member states, UN entities, UN Women, and civil society to include older women in the center of all policies, ensuring gender equality as described in the Secretary-General’s report, Our Common Agenda
Population aging is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century, with implications for nearly all sectors of society, including labour and financial markets, the demand for goods and services, such as housing, transportation and social protection, as well as family structures and inter-generational ties, says the United Nations.
Many seniors still working:
In Canada, many people age 65+ are still working. In fact, that seems to be a tacit expectation of the federal government, that has at least twice increased the amount of Old Age Security (OAS) payments only for older people who are age 75+.
Seniors continue to work in most cases out of economic need, especially since inflation keeps grinding away at financial security for most people. Keeping gainfully active in the community and workforce is also a choice for good contribution and good health.
Not all seniors have adequate pension income. Not all Canadians were able to make sufficient payments into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) during their working years.
Some economists are now saying that seniors should be encouraged to remain within or rejoin the active workforce, as a way for workplaces and the economy to benefit by the experience and wisdom of older persons. In BC last year, Finance Minister Selina Robinson was presented with that concept as well as the idea that a tax credit incentive be made available to seniors who work past age 65.
Wide range of ‘seniors’:
The term ‘senior’ still requires better definition in Canada. Anyone age 55 or older could be considered a ‘senior’, depending on the context.
Certainly there is a difference in many ways between a person who is mid-50s, mid-60s, in their 70s, and older than 80. Health, economic and social needs will vary widely.
Housing needs are an area of variable need and availability. It may soon not be the norm that elders are placed or destined for long-term care. Especially since the awareness raised during the pandemic as to the social needs of seniors (and all people), there could be a return to a more multi-generational type of household, including for economic reasons.
Some seniors are still parenting:
For various family reasons and circumstances, some older people — many of them grandparents — are still actively parenting kids in the Kindergarten-through-Grade 12 phase. They are making a uniquely important contribution to their families and to the school system.
Seniors strategy in Canada:
“One of the best ways to demonstrate our appreciation is to ensure that our cities and communities are good places to grow up and grow older. In the upcoming election,” says the National Association of Federal Retirees, on their website. That organization has a National Seniors Strategy:
• Independent, Productive and Engaged Citizens
• Healthy and Active Lives
• Quality Care Closer to Home
• Support for Caregivers
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement on National Seniors Day 2022:
“Seniors worked hard all their lives to build a better Canada for today and for future generations. On National Seniors Day, I join all Canadians in honouring seniors and their many contributions to our communities across the country.
“Unfortunately, the rising cost of living is hitting many seniors hard. The Government of Canada is putting more money back in the pockets of seniors across the country this year. This past July, we permanently increased the Old Age Security pension for seniors 75 years old and over by 10 per cent – putting more than $800 in the pockets of full pensioners, and increasing benefits for over three million seniors this year. This builds on improvements we have made to the Guaranteed Income Supplement to lift thousands of low-income single seniors out of poverty, and as part of our plan to make life more affordable this year, we are working to put an additional $225, on average, in the pockets of qualifying seniors by doubling the GST tax credit for six months.
“Seniors deserve to have a safe and dignified place to call home. Learning from the hard lessons of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has signed agreements with every province and territory to improve long-term care and protect the health and safety of seniors. Earlier this year, we launched the $90 million Age Well at Home initiative to support organizations working to help low-income and vulnerable seniors with everyday tasks such as snow removal, home maintenance, and meal preparation. In addition, through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, we provided funding to over 3,000 local projects led by and for seniors that make a difference in communities and help improve seniors’ quality of life. For example, in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, seniors are engaging virtually with elementary school students through the “Senior Connections: Decreasing Loneliness and Isolation through Music and Memory” project.
“Canada’s seniors have always been there for us, and we need to be there for them. Today, I invite Canadians of all ages to take a moment to connect with a senior in their lives, be it a relative, a family friend, or a neighbour. Lend them a listening ear, run an errand or a chore to support them, or volunteer at a local seniors’ centre. One small action can make a world of difference.”
===== RELATED LINKS:
National Seniors Day – Do It Yourself Guide for planning a Seniors Day event (federal government) – PDF
===== RELATED ARTICLES by Island Social Trends:
COVID rapid antigen test kits available to seniors at pharmacies (March 4, 2022)
Federal grind on low-income seniors & families continues in new year (January 3, 2022)
Huge letdown for low-income seniors as GIS clawback repayment promise drags on (December 16, 2021)
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
The publication was launched in mid-2020, emerging from a series of preceding print publications: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).
Founding publisher/editor of the entire series is Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR.