The changing family networks of elderly in the next 25 years: how Europe is different from Canada?

Jacques Légaré, Université de Montréal
Joëlle Gaymu, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Marc-Antoine Busque, Université de Montréal
Samuel Vézina, Université de Montréal
Yann Décarie, Université de Sherbrooke and Université de Montréal
Janice Keefe, Mount Saint Vincent University

In the next 25 years, the most important increases within the elderly population, both in Canada and Europe, are expected to occur among the oldest old, i.e. people aged 75 years old and over. Although many older people remain in good health until quite advanced ages, risks of becoming disabled increase significantly at age 75 and over. Therefore, the need for home care support is expected to increase. It is known that the source of assistance is closely linked with the elderly people living arrangement and family network This paper presents a comparison of the Canadian situation with the European’s in term of demographic aging, using dynamic projections of the elderly population age 75 and over. The European projections results were made available via the Future Elderly Living Condition In Europe (FELICIE) research program (9 European countries), whereas the Canadian projections were performed using Statistics Canada LifePaths microsimulation model. These projections permit a thorough analysis of the family network configuration of the elderly, according to the presence of spouse and/or surviving children. Projections provide also information on the living arrangements as well as the health status of the elderly. According to the projections, within the next three decades, the population aged 75 years and over will increase by approximately 70% in Europe compared to 150% in Canada. In other words, during this time period the growth rate of the Canadian elderly population is twice as fast as it is in Europe. Findings on family network show among others that the greatest part of the increase of the aged 75+ will consist of married people with surviving children.

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Presented in Session 2: Work-Family Balance in Europe