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Ties that bind: nurturing the young, caring for the old

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Policy Options, April-May 2006, Vol. 27, no. 04
Maxwell, Judith
Publication Date: 
1 Apr 2006


The overriding objective of public policy choices, writes Judith Maxwell, should be "maximizing the well-being of young and old Canadians." By 2020, baby boomers will be approaching their 75th birthdays, nearing the demogaphic called "older elderly," when they will require more care and make more financial demands on the system. In order to look after them, "we also have to meet the needs of the younger generations who will be expected to generate the necessary surge in productivity while providing support and care for their elders." Already, statistics indicate many working Canadians, especially women, are making major sacrifices to look after their elders. Turning to schools, the high school dropout rate is pushing young people into occupations with no way out of dependency, and many in the cities do not even qualify for employment insurance. Maxwell proposes three social policy priorities: "a system of social care for elders, comprehensive support for families with young children and alternative pathways from school to work for young adults."