Rights & Money

Many Are Ignoring Their Future Health-Care Needs

While older Canadians do plan for retirement, most aren’t giving thought to their long-term care

By Caitlin Finlay

While 61% of Canadians say they believe health-care and long-term care are priorities in retirement, 66% admit they know little about the options available or the costs involved. That‘s according to a Leger poll conducted in March on behalf of the financial services firm Edward Jones Canada.

Only 29% of the 1,523 Canadian adults polled said they had discussed health and long-term care with family.

Among those aged 55 or older, 59% admitted to having have limited or no knowledge of the long-term care costs they might face. Almost one in four (22%) said they don’t like to discuss long-term care needs; 23% said they don’t think health concerns will affect them.

Almost a third of respondents (31%) said they don’t know how long their retirement savings will last, including 24% of those 55 or older.

“When we discuss retirement with our friends and family, we often talk about the freedom we will have to do the things we love with the people we love,” David Gunn, president of Edward Jones Canada, said in a press release. “Health and long-term care is often an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be. Involving your partner and family in your long-term care discussions and planning is an important step to help ensure you are well-supported, come what may.”

According to prior research from Edward Jones Canada and Age Wave, Canadians experience an average of nine years in poor health and relying on the health-care system and long-term care options. The survey data suggests that many Canadians won’t be financially prepared for the cost of these years.

Edward Jones commissioned research into the costs of care and found that the average cost in Canada for a private room in a long-term care facility was $33,349 a year. The cost of personal care for someone who prefers to age in his or her own home averages $30 an hour. While these costs will vary by province or territory and city, in general the cost of care has been increasing at an average of 4% a year and is expected to continue at a similar rate. The National Institute of Aging (NIA) estimates that the cost of long-term care will increase from $22 billion to $71 billion by 2050, more than triple the current cost.

Photo: iStock/Wavebreakmedia.