Developing new strategies to support future caregivers of the aged in Canada: projections of need and their policy implications
Janice Keefe, Mount Saint Vincent University
Yves Carriere, Statistics Canada
Jacques Légaré, Université de Montréal
Projections of future need for Canadian continuing care services typically uses current utilization patterns and population aging. Accurately assessing this need is much more complex since disability patterns among the elderly are changing and availability of caregivers is affected by changes in family structure. This paper projects annual growth rates between 2001-2031 in the need for informal and formal support among elderly Canadians and discusses the policy implications of the increasing demand for informal caregivers. Using Statistics Canada’s LifePaths micro-simulation model, these projections incorporate disability rates and the potential availability of informal caregivers. The authors conclude that continued focus on family to meet the needs of elderly Canadians without increased support is not sustainable in the long term. New strategies to support Canadian caregivers are proposed and their economic feasibility in the public and private markets are evaluated.