Are we failing our elders? Most of us dream of the day we’ll retire and we hope to do so with some financial security. Unfortunately, the financial situation of seniors in Quebec is not rosy, while the number of bankruptcies has jumped by 20% in five years for those aged 65 and over and the debt ratio in the elderly is constantly increasing. The situation is even worse for people who only live on public benefits. This reality obliviously comes with a deterioration in the quality of life among seniors in Quebec.
When we search the reasons why they got into debt, it is not to pay for a holiday in the sun. So before you point the finger, know that the reason they are going into debt is due to expenses increase, residence cost, higher health cost. The government keeps cutting health coverage and services every year.
The waiting list in a CHSLD can go beyond one year. In the meantime, people have to pay for the services they need. This goes without mentioning all the news stories we hear about services being cut in CHSLD, such a the number of baths, the quality of food and service from lacking staff numbers who are overworked. It’s not really a reality that anyone is looking forward too. It’s to the point that it become a human rights issue.
One solution that our government as suggested is to push the age of retirement even later. This will not solve the financial precariousness of seniors. It is all well and good to want to increase one’s income, but if one does not have health or the conditions of the labor market demands. Most employers will not allow us to work, what does one do? I’m only 40 years old and battling health issues that make it difficult to keep my full time job. What are my hopes if they keep pushing back the retirement age? Continuing to work beyond age 65 should remain a choice and not an obligation and not one forced upon us due to financial issues.
This situation will only get worse unless we take real action to help our elders and help protect retirement, otherwise most of us will be forced to work until we die. People aged 65 to 69 are twice as active in the labor market today as they were in 2002 and most of them aren’t there because they like to work and wanted to do so.