“Excuse me,” a senior citizen behind me, on the bus says. She is trying to make her way on a visibly overcrowded bus. As I give her some space, I realize the bus is teeming with senior citizens, not unusual for a commuter who takes the subway or bus every day.
In fact, Canadians know we have an aging population which is increasing by the day. This is precisely the reason why we have a fairly open immigration policy which welcomes newcomers every year.
So, why are we discussing this now? Because, of a recently released Statistics Canada report which states that there are now 5.9 million Canadian seniors, compared to 5.8 million Canadians 14 and under. You heard it right! There has been a historic increase of 20% in the number of people over 65 since 2011. The reasons for this are quite simple: a post-war baby boom, advances in medical technology ensuring the longevity of life, and fairly low fertility levels.
An article published by Statistics Canada further says that the numbers will continue to spike at an average rate of 3.5% over the next 20 years. The article makes another important point, “Compared with native-born Canadians, some people from various ethnocultural groups could have different traditions and expectations towards their family network once they become older, particularly if they lose their independence. These trends could also have an impact on, for example, the transition from working life to retirement, income levels at retirement, the passing on of family wealth, intergenerational cohabitation, the assistance that seniors provide to their grandchildren, and leisure and travel habits.”
We at MCIS understand that the spike in the aging population will be constant and accredit our interpreters only after they are trained and tested to interpret for victims of elder abuse, along with other modules and routinely interpret over the phone and in-person for them.
So, if you are a senior who is a Limited or Non-English Speaker, contact us immediately. We may be able to get you the assistance you need.
Vivek Vijayapalan, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Toronto, Ontario, May 24, 2017.