Green Party of New Brunswick Policy Proposal: Seniors
New Brunswick seniors are not a monolithic group. Some New Brunswick seniors have had meaningful, well-paid careers and have pensions and savings that allow them to enjoy retirement. Others have not been so fortunate and, in retirement, continue to struggle to make ends meet. Some seniors are healthy and able to continue to contribute to their society in myriad ways. Others face significant health issues and require support and assistance to continue to cope with the challenges of daily living.
Regardless of their current situation, seniors have, throughout their lives, contributed to the province’s tax and resource base, and they continue to do so after the age of 65. The older population is an integral part of the social fabric of New Brunswick and no province would ever have the money to replace the work that people over 65 do on an informal basis to maintain that social fabric. There can be no constructive policy on seniors’ issues until we stop seeing the rising number of seniors in our society as “a crisis” and begin to see it as an opportunity for the province to become a leader in policy development.
In Living Healthy, Aging Well: A report by the Premier’s Panel on Seniors (2012), the government stated:
Society is in the midst of a worldwide seismic shift. This demographic shift will have a significant effect on our economic, social and governmental sectors.... New Brunswick is home to 123,630 people aged 65 years and older. Only 3 per cent are nursing home residents. Understanding the desires of the other 97 per cent is key to creating policies and programs to serve older adults in our province.... The province’s current life expectancy is 77.5 years for men and 82.8 years for women. The proportion of people over the age of 85 is the fastest growing population segment with no expectation of abatement. Over the next 20 years, Statistics Canada forecasts the province’s population will age faster than the rest of Canada.
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