Baby boomers ageing to be self-reliant

Old is the new young

Baby boomers have been independent their entire lives. Getty images

“They’ve been independent their entire lives. They won’t stop being self-reliant when they get old and sick,” says University of Montréal (UM) demographer Jacques Légaré.
Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1966. In Quebec, they are credited with overcoming religious and sexual barriers.

They built the modern infrastructure we know today and set up most social institutions. They have very few children, and according to Légaré, they don’t plan on counting on their progeny to look after them in their golden years.

“They are usually well educated and have great financial means,” says Légaré. “They benefited from generous pensions and have contributed to RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) for decades. They plan on taking advantage of that and they will.”
Traditionally, when someone gets sick their spouse will care for them. If the spouse can’t do so, or if the person lives alone, they will turn to their family or rely on friends.

Boomers, however, could rethink this hierarchy. What will the boomer reliance system look like? Légaré believes boomers could live together in plush houses where they share the cost and services of a private nurse or independently, says a UM release. Légaré also believes ageing baby boomers will radically change our health-care system. “We won’t put as much money in specialised medicine seeing as demand will mostly be for primary care.”
Massive investments in cancer treatments or artificial hearts, says Légaré, aren’t justified.
“If a 72-year-old dies of cancer, it’s a shame but it’s not tragic,” he says. “We all have to die of something. Faced with an ageing population, we will have to make such choices.”

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