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18 Sep 2017

The Costs of Caring for Aging Parents in Canada


Topics: Home Care

In Canada, more than eight million people provide care to a disabled or chronically ill loved one. Approximately half of those caregivers are caring for their parents or parents-in-law. While most caregivers say the experience of caring for a loved one is rewarding, the costs can be an unexpected burden.

Every year in Canada, caring for aging parents costs an estimated $33 billion. Since the population is getting older, we can expect that number to rise. More Canadians will need to become caregivers for their aging parents or loved ones, and they may not be prepared for the costs. Is caring for aging parents really so expensive? Here are some of the costs you can expect.

Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Expenses

In Canada, there’s the perception that healthcare is free. However, the government only pays 70 percent of healthcare costs. The other 30 percent is left for seniors or their caregivers to pay. You and your parents may be shocked by how much you need to spend every year on healthcare. After the age of 65, Canadians expect to spend an average of $5,391 every year on out-of-pocket medical expenses. Caregivers spend an average of $3,300 a year on these expenses. If your parents have limited retirement savings, you may end up spending even more.

Assistive devices such as mobility aids, hearing aids, visual aids, and communication aids can become very expensive for you and your parents. The Ontario government covers 75 percent of the cost of these items, but unfortunately will end up covering the remaining percentage out of your own pocket. If your parents or loved ones need multiple assistive devices, the costs can add up quickly.

Home accessibility upgrades are also an additional expense to keep in mind. For example, if your parents have trouble getting up their stairs, you could need to add a stair lift. Or, if they’re having trouble bathing, you may need to install a walk-in shower or walk-in tub.

Time Off Work

Another cost involved with caring for aging parents is taking time off work. Out of employed family caregivers, 43 percent say they’ve been late for work, left early, or had to leave during the middle of the day. Nearly 30 percent of people caring for their aging parents miss 450 hours of work to handle their care. That translates to just over 56 eight-hour work days.

After caregivers use up all their vacation and sick days, they need to take unpaid time. The lost income can put a strain on their finances. It also makes it harder for caregivers to help their parents with those additional medical expenses.

Time off work doesn’t just mean short-term income losses. It can also have major effects on career advancement and future income. Ten percent of employed caregivers have had to turn down promotions or new jobs because of their caregiving responsibilities. Four-in-ten have moved to a less demanding job.

Hiring Professional Care

Another cost associated with caring for aging parents is paying for professional care. Professional caregivers can help with personal care tasks, like bathing or getting dressed. They can also help with housekeeping tasks like vacuuming or doing laundry.

While forgoing professional care may seem like the frugal choice, enlisting a senior care agency can end up saving you time, money, and stress. If a professional caregiver is looking after your parents, you may not need to make expensive home modifications. What’s more, you may not need to take unpaid time off work.

If you’re interested in professional home care, learn how to have a conversation about senior home care. When it comes to caring for aging parents, it’s important to plan for the health of happiness of both your loved ones and yourself.

While private care is, expectedly, an expense that requires financial commitment, arranging for senior home care demands less financial commitment than if you were to move your loved ones into a facility. Your loved ones can stay at home, maintain their independence, and keep their spirits high.


Tennille Kerrigan

Tenille is the president of Senior Helpers Canada, the premier franchise that delivers on what families and their loved ones need most. She has bachelor’s degree in business administration from York University, and has over 10 years of experience as a business owner and director. With Senior Helpers, our franchisees provide the professionalism and expert care that families and their aging loved ones require.

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