OTTAWA – October 1, 2013 – The 1st of October marks two special designated days for Older Persons – Canadian National Seniors Day and the UN designated International Day of Older Persons. Today also being the start of Women’s History Month in Canada, the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) is celebrating the life-long contributions senior women have made to our society, while also recognizing the many issues they continue to face, including elder abuse, financial insecurity, and difficulty accessing affordable elder care.
Adults over the age of 65 are the fastest growing age group in Canada, expected to grow from 13% of the population to almost 25% by 2051. The most recent Census recorded a 14.1% increase in older persons between 2006 and 2011, and showed that by age 65, women are outnumbering men 1.25:1, and by age 80, almost 2:1.
“Seniors continue to provide invaluable contributions to Canadian society and the economy. A growing number of older Canadians are choosing to remain in the workforce, and many contribute their time and expertise as volunteers in our communities and as caregivers in our families”, said Susan Murphy, President of CFUW. “CFUW has a number of senior members, dedicating countless volunteer hours to better their communities, raise funds for scholarships and awards, and advocate for women’s human rights and equality.”
Issues facing seniors and older persons affect all Canadians, both on a social and economic level. Access to affordable home care and long term care, in particular, are essential to ensure that seniors are adequately cared for, and that younger generations are not unduly burdened with unpaid care responsibilities of aging parents and friends. According to Statistics Canada, in 2007 2.7 million adults between the ages of 45 and 64 were providing unpaid elder care. Most of these caregivers were women, managing employment with family and eldercare tasks and seven out of 10 requiring elder care were women.
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, spoke to the positive intentions of the International Day of Older Persons day by stating that “Longevity is a public health achievement, not a social or economic liability. On this International Day of Older Persons, let us pledge to ensure the well-being of older persons and to enlist their meaningful participation in society so we can all benefit from their knowledge and ability.”
CFUW encourages all Canadians to join us in celebrating older persons today, while putting a special focus on senior women, their contributions, and their needs.
CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace. CFUW is the largest affiliate of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), the leading girls’ and women’s global organization run by and for women, advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels.
For more information, contact: Tara Fischer, Advocacy Coordinator; email firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-234-8252, ext. 106.