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Doctors alarmed at growth in Seniors Poverty

OECD Report on Seniors’ Poverty “Alarming” says CMA President

OTTAWA, Nov. 26, 2013 /CNW/ – New data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that points to increasing poverty among Canadian seniors underlines the country’s urgent need for a national seniors care strategy, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) said today.

The report found that although poverty rates among seniors fell in many OECD countries between 2007 and 2010, inCanada they actually rose by about two percentage points. The CMA says rising poverty rates will put even greater strain on Canada’s health care system, particularly given that patients age 65 or older already account for nearly half of Canada’s health care spending (45% in 2009).

“By 2036 one-quarter of Canadians will be over the age of 65,” said CMA President Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti. “That is why the CMA has called on the federal government to collaborate with provincial, territorial and municipal governments to establish and invest in a pan-Canadian strategy for seniors’ care.”

Describing the OECD finding as “alarming,” Dr. Francescutti noted that a recent CMA report, What Makes us Sick, identified poverty as a key factor causing people to suffer poor health.

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Nurses ask for new Seniors’ Commission

OTTAWA, Nov. 26, 2013 /CNW/ – The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) wants the federal government to establish a collaborative aging and seniors care commission of Canada (ASCCC) to promote the health and well-being of Canadians as they age, enhance chronic disease prevention and management, and increase system capacity around frailty and vulnerability. According to recent population statistics, nearly 5.2 million Canadians were over the age of 65 in 2012 — a number projected to double by 2036. CNA is expecting immediate action on seniors’ health given the growth of the aging population and their needs. With a federal election on the horizon in 2015, nearly two-thirds (65.8 per cent) of Canadians say a strong commitment to aging and seniors’ care will be important in determining who to vote for, according to a new national poll conducted for CNA.

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Seniors poverty in Canada on the rise says OECD

An international think-tank warns that poverty among Canadian seniors is on the rise and that current pension safety nets may be inadequate to address the problem.

The comprehensive study on global pensions by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that Canadians over 65 years of age are relatively well off when compared with most others in the 34-country group of advanced economies.

For example, the average poverty rate for people over age 65 in Canada was 7.2 per cent during the study period,  better than the 12.8 per cent average in the 24-nation OECD.

But the report also points to gaps in the Canadian situation.

For instance, as poverty rates were falling in many OECD countries between 2007 and 2010, in Canada they rose about two percentage points.

As well, the report notes that public (government) transfers to seniors in Canada account for less than 39 per cent of the gross income of Canadian seniors, compared with the OECD average of 59 per cent, meaning more Canadians depend on workplace pensions to bridge the gap.