Population of 85+ seniors growing rapidly
Seniors aged 85 and older are growing in number and as a proportion of the population, Stats Canada is reporting.
Despite being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, this population continues to increase faster than Canada as a whole. The growth of this population will accelerate even further in coming years, as the first baby boomer cohorts will turn 85.
These older Canadians have contributed greatly to society through their long working lives, by taking care of younger generations, transmitting their experience and knowledge, acting as role models for younger people, and being memory-keepers of the past and of family traditions.
They also have unique needs. Many face activity limitations and need health and home care services — the rapid growth of this population in coming years is likely to add to the existing pressures in the health care and home care sectors. An increasing number are no longer living in private dwellings and need different types of housing options, such as seniors’ residences at first, and nursing care facilities as they get older. Those who stay longer in private homes may have specific needs related to home care, transportation and security.
- Over 861,000 people aged 85 and older were counted in the 2021 Census, more than twice the number observed in the 2001 Census.
- The population aged 85 and older is one of the fastest-growing age groups, with a 12% increase from 2016. Currently, 2.3% of the population is aged 85 and older.
- While the COVID-19 pandemic claimed many lives among the oldest Canadians, this population continued to grow rapidly.
- Over the next 25 years (by 2046), the population aged 85 and older could triple to almost 2.5 million people.
- Over 9,500 centenarians are now living in Canada — a 16% increase from 2016. Centenarians represent 0.03% of the Canadian population.
- While women still outnumber men, the ratio of women to men among people aged 85 and older is decreasing.
- As a significant proportion of people aged 85 and older have activity limitations or health-related issues, more than one-quarter live in a collective dwelling, such as a nursing care facility, long-term care facility or seniors’ residence. This proportion increases with age.
- Much like young adults, older seniors are also living downtown: in three-fifths of the country’s large urban centres, there is a higher percentage of people aged 85 and older living in the downtown core than in the large urban centre as a whole. Downtown areas tend to have more services and amenities, such as hospitals, long-term care and other housing types better adapted to the specific needs of older populations.
- As more seniors are living to 85 and beyond, an increasing number of individuals will face limitations and long-term health challenges. This will put increasing pressure on all levels of government to ensure adequate support, in areas such as housing, health care and home care, as well as transportation, among other things.