The Challenge Ahead

What will the older adult population in Ontario look like in the future?
  • The number of older adults 65 and over will double by 2036 from 13.7% of the total population in 2009 to 23.4% by 2036 [1] 
  • Fastest growth in the 75 and over age group - it is projected that this group will  increase from 1.8 million to 4.2 million by 2034[2]
  • Older adults will live longer - between 2006 and 2030, the life expectancy of men will grow from 78.9 years to 84.4 years and from 78.0 years to 87.1 years for women.

What are the implications of population aging and key challenges for the future?
The implications of this population shift are significant for the NFP sector in Ontario. Older adults are not only service recipients, but also the providers of services through their paid and voluntary work. Challenges include:
  • Demand for services and supports for older adults is both increasing and changing.
          -        Vulnerable groups that may require special services include immigrants, women, those living in rural and remote areas, Aboriginal peoples, and                                         unattached adults.
          -        Service areas facing greater demand include affordable housing options, accessible transportation, supportive services for caregivers and home care                             services.
          -        Advocacy is needed to combat ageism and elder abuse.
          -        Services will also need to respond to the changing expectations of older adults.
  • It will be hard to keep up with limited resources.
          -          Human Resources challenges include an aging NFP sector workforce, limited succession planning and challenges with recruitment and retention of staff.
          -          Volunteer-related challenges include the changing supply of volunteers and expectations about volunteerism.
          -          Changing levels of donations and giving patterns are both an opportunity and challenge for the sector.
          -          Limited funding and ongoing issues related to the type and nature of the funding will constrain the sector’s ability to respond to the changing needs and                              growing population.
  • Internal capacity to plan for and manage change is limited in NFP organizations and the service system as a whole. Service delivery, innovation and collaboration are affected.
  • Leadership is needed now.
          -        Policy and funder leadership is scarce. Funders do not feel prepared for the changes, further exacerbating the challenges ahead.
          -        The NFP sector’s capacity to advocate for policy and funding changes to meet the needs of NFPs is limited.

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