Canadians are living longer today than previous generations. While this is positive, it presents a greater responsibility for financing the long term care required by elderly Canadians.
Nursing facilities and home care costs are expensive, and it is difficult to budget for unknown lengths of time. What happens if the person requiring care needs facility care for longer than 5 years, as is the case with 20% of nursing home residents? All Canadian provinces impose user fees for nursing homes, so while you may think care is covered by the Government, in reality, the funding for care is paid partially by the resident or their family. User fees range from just under $12,000 annually for a private room in Alberta to as high as $57,000 in Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, private homes can charge according to market conditions. In Ontario, a privately owned facility can cost over $40,000 annually. Add to this the costs of incidentals that may not be covered under Government plans, such as wheelchairs or special therapy costs, and an elderly Canadians finances may not last the length of time needed. These issues are particularly taxing to the “sandwich generation”, the baby boomers who are juggling the costs of caring for elderly parents, and providing education for their children, while planning for their own retirement.