Elder care costs Canadians $27B annually in lost income, vacation

Taking care of elderly parents costs Canadians $27 billion a year in lost income and foregone vacation time, a report by CIBC Capital Markets has found. 

“Close to 30 per cent of workers with parents over the age of 65 lose roughly 450 hours per year of time off work to attend to the care needs of aging parents, with the largest impact falling to women and lower income earning Canadians,” says Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC and co-author of the report. Furthermore, the figure doesn’t account for delayed promotions tied to taking time off work.

On average, men spend just under eight working hours a week caring for aging parents, while women spend 10. 

“It’s worth noting that there is a clear gender story here, with women taking 30 per cent more time off than men to care for an aging parent,” Tal says. 

Read: How to help your employees with eldercare responsibilities

The report also found that individuals earning less than $50,000 a year spend nearly 600 working hours caring for aging parents. The amount of time drops to just over 400 hours among individuals earning between $50,000 and $99,000 a year, and to just over 300 hours among individuals earning at least $100,000 a year.

Two million Canadians, or 14 per cent of those with a parent aged 65 or over, also pay out of pocket for elder-care expenses. On average, they spend $3,300 a year, for a total of $6 billion. Combined direct and indirect elder-care costs, the report notes, are $33 billion.

Over the next 10 years, these costs will increase by more than 20 per cent due to changing demographics, the report predicts.

Read: Discussion about retirement age resurfaces as census shows big rise in senior population