The majority of Canadians aged 50 years and older are optimistic about their future, but concerns remain for those with health or financial challenges, according to a new survey from the National Institute on Ageing.
Released Tuesday, the inaugural Ageing in Canada Survey takes an in-depth look at social well-being, financial security, and health and independence among Canadians aged 50 years and older.
Overall, the report found that most (63%) reported feeling positive about aging. What’s more, the oldest Canadians in the survey — those 80 and over — felt the best about growing older, expressing a more positive attitude toward most aspects of aging compared to those aged 50 to 79.
“These findings are reassuring at a time when Canada is facing unprecedented demographic realities with Canadians aged 65 years and older representing the fastest-growing segment of the population,” the report said.
The majority of those surveyed said they had strong social networks they could rely on (70%), were socially engaged (60%), believed they had adequate financial resources (72%), were usually able to access the health care and community support services they needed (68%), and had confidence in their ability to age in their own homes (89%).
On the flip side, those who reported their health as fair or poor (15%) and their income as inadequate (26%) fared worse across indicators of social well-being, health and independence, and retirement readiness than those in good health and with adequate income.
Among respondents who were still working and intended to retire, only a minority (35%) reported feeling confident in their ability to afford retirement when they wanted; 37% reported that they were not in a position to financially afford to retire.
One in four of those surveyed (26%) said their income was not enough for them, with 19% saying they were stretched and 7% saying they were having a hard time.
In terms of their health and independence, one in four (28%) Canadians aged 50 years and older reported that they struggled to access the health-care services they needed over the last 12 months. Further, four in 10 (41%) were deemed at risk of social isolation.
The report also highlighted ageism as a problem, with 31% of older Canadians and 40% of those born outside of Canada reporting they have been discriminated against or mistreated because of their age.
The 2022 NIA Ageing in Canada Survey was conducted online with 5,885 Canadians aged 50 years and older who live in the community (as opposed to long-term care homes or other institutional settings) from July 5 to Aug. 7, 2022.