Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four!
With apologies to the Beatles, make that when I’m sixty-five.
Here we go again.
It seemed liked yesterday my column Truth on age-old problem (May 3, 2012) was published where I was bemoaning the fact I was turning 60.
Now suddenly I am turning 65 this month. I shall become a senior citizen…a pensioner, a statistic.
I used to get a kick out of lying about my age at the movie theatre and paying the senior rate. I even bragged about it live on a local radio talk show only to have listeners phoning in appalled. And rightly so, as I do represent CARP.
Now what am I going to do to amuse myself once I step over that threshold onto the other side where youth is but an elusive memory?
According to the latest numbers from Stats Canada, there are more Canadians 65 and over than under 15. As of 2015, there were 5,780,900 Canadians over the age of 65 or 16.1 per cent of Canada’s population.
Yes, we baby boomers are babies no more.
My biggest fear about growing old is becoming a bag lady, although in my case it would be an Italian Furla bag.
There is the myth that all seniors are house-rich, play golf all day and are endlessly travelling and spending their kids’ inheritance. Yes, there is a large cohort of well-off retirees in British Columbia.
But not everyone.
In a recent study, Poverty and Inequality Among British Columbia’s Seniors from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, half of B.C.’s seniors are living on $25,000 a year or less. Of the 28 per cent of seniors who live alone, single women are at the highest risk.
The report states that poverty among seniors rose from 2.2 per cent in 1996 to 12.7 per cent in 2014 with a total of 96,000 seniors living in poverty.
In B.C. the Office of the Seniors Advocate regularly researches and reports on systemic issues which affect seniors. These reports highlight key issues facing seniors and make recommendations to governments for further action.
And you can do the same.
The provincial election is weeks away and it is seniors who get out to vote, including the majority of CARP members.
In 2017, CARP continues to being the leading advocate for improved financial and health care security.
Here are the top 5 issues CARP will be tackling this year:
Surgical Wait Times: The aim is reduce wait times for surgical procedures which are currently unacceptable. B.C. residents can wait 12 to 24 months for hip and knee replacements.
Homecare: Access to homecare is vital for aging Canadians. CARP is calling for the Federal Liberals to honour their pledge for $3 billion in funding.
Caregivers: 80 per cent of care is provided annually by 8 million informal, unpaid caregivers. CARP wants a refundable tax credit and caregiver’s allowance.
Investor Protection: Canadians worry about outliving their money and CARP will fight to keep your money in your hands and this includes eliminating mandatory RRIF withdrawals.
Elder Abuse: CARP wants mandatory reporting for the most common type of abuse which impacts 800,000 seniors every year.
Tell your local politicians to keep you comfortable and financially secure in your old age. Vote!
As for me, I shall celebrate turning 65 by paying less for my property taxes, applying for an ICBC rebate, taking a ferry ride and going to see a movie.
And to balance my karma, I shall pay the adult rate for my ticket!