As the population ages, many Canadians expect that providing financial support to their elderly parents will have a major impact on their personal finances, a recent survey commissioned by FP Canada™ and Chartwell Retirement Residences reveals. Despite this trend, fewer than one-in-three Canadians say they’re familiar with the tax credits, grants and other financial tools available to help alleviate the financial impact of this support.

The survey, conducted by Leger, examined the financial and caregiving support Canadians are providing to their parents and the impact this is having on their own financial circumstances. It follows the Seniors and Money Report, which explored the issues aging Canadians face when it comes to debt, income, financial planning and work.

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Of more than 1,500 Canadians surveyed, 14% among those with a living parent said they expect that supporting their parents financially will cause them to postpone their retirement and 12% said they expect that it will prevent them from paying off debt. Younger Canadians between the ages of 18-34 are particularly worried, with one-in-five (18%) expecting to postpone their retirement as a result of financially supporting their parents.

The survey results suggest that many Canadians are in denial about the financial support their parents will need as they grow older, according to Sharon Henderson, Vice President of Marketing and Communications with Chartwell Retirement Residences.

“ The senior years can be financially challenging, and as a result, many older Canadians turn to family members for support. That can cause a significant financial strain, and as Canadians live longer, that strain will only grow. ”

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“One of the biggest concerns we see in retirement living is the avoidance of financial conversations between adult children and their senior parents. This can create uncertainty and prevent proactive planning for support later in life,” Henderson says. “We believe aging adults could benefit from supportive solutions like the lifestyle in a retirement community a lot earlier in their retirement years if they fully understood the costs, as well as their own finances and resources. This starts with a financial conversation with their children and a financial planner, such as a CFP professional. Planning for future support now will help empower older adults to achieve the lifestyle they want in retirement, and also bring their families peace of mind when it comes to understanding the costs.” 

The survey reveals that fewer than one-in-three Canadians (28%) are familiar with tax credits associated with dependent parents. Males (31%) are more likely than females (24%) to say they’re familiar with these types of credits.

Only one-in-five (22%) said they are familiar with grants, loans, rebates and other financial assistance programs associated with renovating their home to accommodate their aging parents.

“The senior years can be financially challenging, and as a result, many older Canadians turn to family members for support. That can cause a significant financial strain, and as Canadians live longer, that strain will only grow,” says Kelley Keehn, author, personal finance educator and Consumer Advocate for FP Canada. “A Certified Financial Planner professional can help you tap into tax credits and other tools and build a plan to support your loved ones without compromising your own financial security.”

Beyond financial assistance, some Canadians are also making career sacrifices to support their parents. Of the respondents, 13% said they have taken time off work to care for their aging parents, and 5% said they have had to quit their job to care for their parents. Women (15%) are more likely than men (10%) to have taken time off work.

The full results of the survey can be found here.


About the Survey

Leger conducted a survey of 1,557 Canadians between April 26-29, 2019 using its online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.