Briefing

Cost of caring for seniors to triple to $71 billion by 2050 as baby boomers retire en masse

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The amount spent on nursing homes will jump from nine per cent of income tax in 2019 to 19 per cent by 2050, according to a report from Ryerson University-based think tank National Institute on Ageing. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Shrinking family sizes and the aging baby boomers (the oldest will turn 75 next year) are putting pressure on both the paid system and on unpaid labour. According to the report, there will be about 120 per cent more adults using home-care support by 2050, but 30 per cent fewer close family members to provide that support. It’s a looming demographic cliff, but as The Logic’s editor-in-chief David Skok wrote recently, it’s been largely ignored during this federal election. If family members are unwilling or unable to provide unpaid care, shifting that cost to the public purse would add another $27 billion in annual costs by 2050, on top of the $71 billion. Other countries have found innovative solutions to tackle this problem. Denmark and the Netherlands pay for time off spent caring for family; Germany and Norway top up caregivers’ pension funds; and Japan has a universal long-term care program funded by higher taxes.