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As number of Canadian seniors grows, so do worries over health care system and its ability to look after us

Last Updated May 22, 2019 at 8:35 am PDT

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As the number of seniors across Canada grows, so do worries over how the health care system will take care of them

A significant number of seniors worry they'll have to delay retirement in order to afford the health care they need

The CMA will be discussing seniors and health care with provincial and federal leaders in PEI today

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A significant number of seniors in Canada believe they’ll have to delay their retirement in order to be able to afford the health care services they need, a new study has found.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, the current system is failing those 65 years and older, while many are also worried about their ability to get the help they’ll need when they’re sick.

The CMA is taking that issue to federal and provincial leaders in Prince Edward Island, as ministers meet to discuss the state of seniors care country-wide on Wednesday.

Canada is at a point where the youngest members of the Baby Boomer generation are now hitting the age of 55. It’s been described by some as the grey tsunami, as seniors are expected to exceed the number of children 14 and under for the first time ever in the country by 2021.

According to findings from the national Ipsos poll, nine-in-10 Canadians are worried about the growing cost to look after them, and six-in-10 believe they’ll have to push their retirement back to afford health care.

The CMA is advocating for federal money to help provinces and territories cope.

“Meeting the health care needs of our aging population is a nationwide issue, with seniors across the country having to pay more out of their own pockets for the care they need,” CMA President Dr. Gigi Osler said. “What we’re seeing today reflects the limitations of seniors’ care, and we can – and must – do better.”

The same poll found Canadians over 55 are more likely to vote for the party they think has the best plan for the future of health care in the federal election in the fall.

Overall, the research found negative emotions far outweigh positive ones — 62 per cent to 38 per cent, with 22 per cent of people saying they are nervous when it comes to the future of health care in Canada.

Twenty-one percent of respondents said they were afraid, while 18 per cent said they were distressed when it came to the topic.