If you’re a Canadian who’s been around even a little bit, you know about the Baby Boomer Generation. They’re the generation born between 1947 and 1961, and over the years, they’ve been a political and cultural powerhouse.
They’re the reason rock music stuck around so long, and why generation X went from complaining about the culture and art of the Baby Boomers to complaining about the culture and art of the millennials without ever really having any culture or art of their own. However, as the boomers begin to hit their 60s and move along into old age, Canada and its healthcare system may not be able to support our biggest generation.
Over the next 15 years, cancer rates are projected to rise by 40%. This isn’t because of an increase in cancer incidents per capita, but because of the rapid increase in older Canadians. If you read our last blog about how men can be a bit neglectful of their health, it won’t surprise you to hear that the cancers physicians are expecting to increase the most include prostate cancer. Cases of colorectal cancer are also expected to rise.
While the cancer rate per capita is remaining steady is good news, it’s not going to help working Canadians or the Canadian government to better afford the health care services that their parents and grandparents are going to be requiring.
Research and better treatments are also a bit of a double edged sword from a purely financial perspective. They help many Canadians diagnosed with cancer to survive. However, some of these survivors need care and extra help for the rest of their lives. Medical experts are expecting that many aspects of Canadian society from the health care system to the caregiver industry and individual families will likely feel the strain of the ageing boomers.
So what can we do?
Right now is the time to make sure adequate thought and money are going into our healthcare system. We need the infrastructure, tools, and staff to be in place and ready for 2030. You can inform your representative that health care is important to you by writing them a letter. In Canada, representatives have a legal obligation to read and respond to the Canadians whom they represent.
Perhaps Canadians and our government representatives should also brainstorm ways of encouraging men to take better care of their health. We need to help men quit smoking, drink less, and eat better. Canadian scientists could potentially look into doing research about why men aren’t going to the doctor, and what we can do to help them go. Many Canadian women prefer to have female doctors, perhaps men have similar problems and would be less embarrassed to have their bodies examined by male doctors. Maybe it’s the anxiety of learning something really may be wrong with them that keeps men away. In which case, we could try to educate men about the benefits of early diagnosis. Or try to help men form the habit of getting a checkup annually when they’re young, before problems have begun. Alternatively, cultural ideas of manliness, being tough, and “sucking it up” may need to be questioned and removed.
No matter what we do, there’s a good chance that Canadians are going to see a bit of strain on their health care system. Starting now will help give policy, infrastructure, and social attitudes the head start they need.
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