Housing requirements for different stages of aging will be top priorities for Canada’s largest seniors’ advocacy organization in 2018. CARP, a national non-profit organization with more than 300,000 members, lists housing affordability and improved living conditions for residents of long-term care homes among the five key issues it plans to champion this year.
The need is underscored in two dismaying statistics cited in CARP’s newly released 2017-18 Impact Report. Canadian seniors are suffering homelessness, with more than one quarter of single seniors now deemed to live in poverty, or suffering abuse, as was reported in 23,000 incidents in long-term care homes in just one year.
“Providing secure housing is the key to reducing the number of seniors living in poverty,” CARP reiterates. “Those who are housed, but on modest fixed incomes, struggle with affordability.”
Among complementary 2018 advocacy priorities, CARP exhorts governments to better protect pensioners when companies go bankrupt and calls for the elimination of age-triggered mandatory withdrawals from registered retirement savings plans. These actions could result in better income and housing security for still-independent renters and homeowners. Fully 96 per cent of surveyed CARP members agree that Canadian provinces should have guarantee funds for corporate defined benefit pension plans.
“We are living longer than ever before, but facing historically low interest rates and the disappearance of defined benefits pension plans. Our oldest seniors are at risk of running out of savings,” CARP warns.
This, sadly, often occurs at the time they are most vulnerable and likely to be living in, or on the waiting list for, long-term care facilities — thus CARP’s priority status for adequate funding for supportive environments with appropriately trained staff. Notably, 45 per cent of surveyed members classify the current quality of long-term care in their province as poor or very poor. “Every Canadian deserves to live out their life with dignity, respect and peace of mind, no matter their age or health,” the report asserts.
CARP’s fifth priority, promoting fitness, heralds a series of walking events to be held this year. Meanwhile, those running for office in 2018 are advised to take heed
“As Canada’s largest advocacy association for older Canadians, we now represent the largest segment of the voting population,” observes CARP’s president, Moses Znaimer.