The research program is designed to investigate a range of interconnected issues relating to the current and future independence and financial security of the elderly population of Canada. Among the issues to be explored are the accumulation of savings, income replacement at retirement, health issues, labour market issues, expenditure patterns and standards of living among the elderly, the impact of inflation on fixed or partially fixed incomes, housing as a major form of wealth for older people, the implications of the tax system, the economic value of voluntary services for and by the elderly, and the special problems facing women in the older years.
The program will be centered at McMaster University but will involve nineteen researchers from four Canadian universities, working in close partnership with a number of community organizations concerned with the elderly population. The program has a strong interdisciplinary character: it will involve researchers from economics, econometrics, sociology, gerontology, demography, social work, medicine, nursing, epidemiology, and health economics.
It is intended that the results generated by the research will provide insights into the problems facing the elderly of today and those of the future, and hence will be of value in the formulation of public and private policy and in the design and implementation of programs bearing on the independence and financial security of Canada's senior citizens.
An important goal of the research program is to build working relationships among the members of the research team, and between the research team and its community organization partners, that will last beyond the lifetime of the present program, and thereby lay the foundation for later research on issues relating to the independence of the elderly -- issues that the demographics make clear will be with us far into the future.