Nova Scotia

StatsCan reveals Nova Scotia has highest senior-to-child ratio

Nova Scotia has Canada's highest ratio of people aged over 65 compared to those aged under 14, new figures from Statistics Canada show.

Aging population brings health-care cost challenges, but also opportunities for 'mentors'

Rita Lajeunesse, 71, says many seniors don't have support from children because they have left the province for work. (CBC)

Older people easily outnumber kids in Nova Scotia, with new Statistics Canada data revealing the province has the highest ratio of seniors to children in Canada.

According to numbers released Tuesday, Nova Scotia has 1.35 seniors for every child. The ratio for Canada overall was 1.01, which means there were slightly more people aged 65 years and over than children 14 years or younger.

The numbers build on recent trends emerging in some provinces as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador begin to report more deaths than births. Exacerbating the situation in the Atlantic region is many young people leave to find work.

It's the first time in Canada that people over the age of 65 outnumber children 14 and younger. The number of residents over the age of 65 now make up 16.1 per cent of the country's population, as of July 1, 2015.

But by international standards, Canada's population of 65-and-overs is still relatively small. It's lower than any other G7 nation. In Japan, for example, 26 per cent of the population is over 64.

4 views on aging Nova Scotia from Halifax-area seniors

Rita Lajeunesse, 71

"The problem with Nova Scotia, in particular, is that a lot of us don't have the supports of our children here because they had to leave for employment. That's a hard thing for seniors here — lack of family support.

"I'm a little afraid [the Statistics Canada data] is creating a bit of ageism almost against older people — 'You're taking all our resources and you're going to take all our health care. You're going to need so much health care, and you're going to need this and you're going to need that.'

"They forget we have worked, most of us, since we were 12 and have done a lot for the country."

Maxine Cordon, 79

"There's nothing wrong with [having more seniors], but you're going to need facilities for seniors, especially when you get down the road and you need medical care. We need more doctors and we need more access to surgeries.

"We're going to have a problem, medical-wise."

Vida Doucet, 72

"I think it's wonderful because we can be mentors. We can be an example to the young."

Martha Loch, 67

"I'm not surprised, because we're the boomer generation and I think a lot of the younger people, almost, resent us because we have had so much power — or at least they think we do, anyway.

"Now that we're getting older, I sometimes find it a little humiliating. I feel like we're kind of dismissed."

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