Greg Hill (left) and Gord Spence get in some early debating points ahead of the next Philosphers Cafe topic of our aging society on April 9.

Campbell River philosophers will discuss how to pay for an aging society

There will be fewer and fewer people in the workforce to pay for the needs of those who have left it

The number of seniors in Canada is increasing sharply – in large part because we’re living longer, healthier lives.

That’s great but there is a big problem. The first of the Baby Boom generation is just entering their senior years. The aging of our society will increase sharply, and there will be fewer and fewer people in the workforce to pay for the needs of those who have left it.

On Wednesday, April 9 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Online Gourmet, the popular Philosophers’ Café will discuss “How will we pay for an aging society?” and brainstorm for solutions.

The presenter this month will be Greg Hill, executive director of the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living. Hill was the driving force behind the innovative assisted-living facility Ironwood Place. Usually the moderator for the Café, Hill will pass those duties to Peter Schwarzhoff. As always, Hill will have just 10 minutes to pose the problem and get the conversation started. It’s up to those in attendance to fill the remaining time with a thoughtful, respectful discussion.

Come share your thoughts on the problem and the possible solutions. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

So costs are rising and the workforce will shrink, what’s to be done?

1) Just expect our children and grandchildren to pay more taxes?

2) Lower seniors’ expectations – less income – less health care?

3) Dramatically increase workforce through open-door immigration, skills training and other productivity improvements, and promotion of larger families – improved childcare?

4) Pre-fund OAS and/or Medicare (as we do with the CPP) i.e. pay more taxes now and reduce the taxes for our children/grandchildren later?

5) Enhance the CPP now (let more people contribute and so collect benefits later)?

6) Make significant changes to our healthcare system by focussing on, for example:  Health promotion/prevention; Treating people earlier;     Managing complex, frail older persons in a more responsive system; Train more doctors in geriatric medicine; Better inter-provincial coordination of care (best practices); Reduced pharmacy costs through a national Pharmacare plan; Stress care in the community over institutional care, or ???