Canada: The Great Grey North

Canada growing old; who’s going to take care of them?
Rahman Mohamed

On May 3, 2017 Statistics Canada released the facts: Canada’s grey.  In 2016 there were more people on the ice that were losing their hair than growing it.

The comb-over generation (age 15-64) was still the largest (59%), controlling the puck, but the baldies outnumbered the babies, the seniors (65+) had a larger team than the juniors (under 15).  23.5% of males were 65+; 16.6% were under 15.  There were more oldies dying their hair (25.4%, women 65+) but fewer women than boys combing (15.3%, girls under 15).Canada population pyramid 2016

189,085 boys were born as Canadians in 2016; they slightly outnumbered the girls who entered the world (180,645).  On the older side women dominated the men who were born in the last century (1916 or earlier): 6,890 females to 1,340 males aged 100+.  Statistics Canada predicts that old are going to continue conquering the young.  In fact, they suggest that in 2036 there will be almost twice as many experienced Canadians (65+) than rookies (under 15).

Statistics Canada Population Expectations 2036

While the retired players on both sides will outnumber the rookies the experienced men will have a harder time rotating shifts than the women; 4,657,230 men are expected to be 65+ compared to 5,237,935 women.  The youngster division is expected to have a difference in the 100,000 range, 2,871,355 baby boys compared to 2,745,235 girls.  So what does that mean for the ones responsible for goal tending and scoring (taking care of the young and old).

A 100+ granny or grandpa (more likely great-grandma or great-great-grandpa) in 2036 will have been born in the midst of the Great Depression, seen World War 2 and 3 (Syria today) and know what the internet is.  And they’ll have seen the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup too!  In their 80’s today they’re not likely to be fluent in the advanced technology of the 2030’s unless they’re reading this on a tablet or smartphone and were directed from a link on Facebook or Twitter.  Others who’ve just reached the prime, 65, might be able to navigate mid-21st century technology; after all, they were raised among the hipsters in the 70’s, smoked pot illegally and will soon be able to use weed legally in Canada instead of just pulling the roots from the underground, most likely July 1, 2018 – Canada Day, aka Cannabis Day.  There is hope they’ll see the Leafs win the Stanley Cup too before they retire.  Or at least see Lord Stanley’s Cup return to Canadian hands in the 21st century, in the land it truly belongs.

Ontario’s numbers for 2036 and 2016 differed slightly but fell in line with the rest of Canada; grannies outnumbered grandpas while baby boys outnumbered baby girls.   The question is still there: what will be done with the old ones?  Today, across Ontario, there are wait times in emergency, reported shortage of beds in hospitals and a shortage of old age homes.  Not only that housing prices are soaring.  When the time comes the empty-nesters might not be able to afford a smaller nest; they might be forced to maintain the 3-storey, 2-bathroom cave instead of living on a steel tree with a high roof and a view of their baby’s office (a view that lets them make sure the baby is behaving).

In Ontario there are more schools than needed.  The baby boomers have moved on.  The buildings are sitting empty and school boards are selling them to make room for condos. There’s no shortage of ice rinks.

Empty school buildings can be adapted to be old age long-term care homes.  Beautiful artwork is already on most classroom walls making them beautiful bedrooms.  Not only that there would be clean bathrooms just around the corner, men and women having their own exclusive bathrooms.  They’d have a computer lab with internet connection, a gymnasium fully equipped for ball hockey, and a cafeteria for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and bingo.  The only thing missing: cable.  It can be added; if it’s likely to help the government from hearing complaints it’s more than likely.  With cable they can watch Hockey Night in Canada!  Not only that, while watching with their grandchildren they’ll be able to teach them the art of signing a cheque or jersey instead of just using a thumbprint.

Without long-term care homes grandchildren might be forced to look after their grandparents, another round of living in the same home for boomerang kids.  In 2036 Canada will have AI ready to vacuum and cook meals while humans watch the game on ice.  The AI will provide live commentary for the games too.  While they can turn themselves on and charge themselves grandchildren will be teaching grandparents how to use Imersenet, the evolution of Internet, a task not fit for AI.

Can it be done?  Will the old be here on Earth or will they simply be moved to Mars Retirement Homes?  There is ice on Mars and it has less gravity so old Canadians might actually have an easier time playing the game there.

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