“My friends say I don’t look a day over 66,” jokes Ray of Squamish, British Columbia. At 67 years old, he is seven years in to his retirement–the very retirement he envisioned.
“I retired from my job at the deep-water terminals at 60 because time is important to me…I want to do the things I like, now, while I’m younger and healthy,” he says. And he does. Ray’s days are filled with hiking, cycling and volunteering. When he’s not on the hills or pathways of Squamish, he is travelling through Europe.
“These things will keep active and they’ll keep me healthy,” he says.
Ray admits that he knows there is no guarantee of good health, even if all the right preventative health steps are taken. He is well aware that he–amongst his friends in the same age cohort–will likely face varying degrees of health issues in the years to come.
“When we get together with friends, we end up talking about health…I wish it didn’t dominate the conversation, but it usually takes over,” he says. “We wonder what the system will be like when we need it most…with the growth of baby boomers, how is the system going to cope?”
Ray and his friends are not alone. The discussion they are having is echoed across the country.
Most older Canadians–eight out of ten–are concerned about the quality of care they can expect as they age. But it is not just seniors thinking about it. Over 90 percent of Canadians of all ages believe the country needs a plan to deal with senior’s health issues and the services required to care for them, not just in hospitals but also in long-term care facilities and in the home.
“We talk about the current system…it is already showing some bad signs,” he says. “Our biggest concern is how extended health services will be managed, you know, like physio…we find ourselves in a place where we are just waiting to see how bad it is about to get.”
Until that day, when this system he references finds the right formula to properly care for seniors in an already-stretched equation, Ray will continue to hedge his bets on his own personal plan.
“I plan on being healthy for a long time.”