Why this is a real problem for Nova Scotia

In Stephanie’s case, she lived close enough to her parents to notice the signs, but it’s no secret that the province’s working-age population is leaving in record numbers.

A recent report by The Fraser Institute, a right-leaning think-tank, says the trend isn’t getting any better.

With young people leaving the province, there are and will be fewer people around to check in on and support their aging parents.

Even when adult children stay in the province, more and more are finding homes in urban centers away from the rural areas their parents call home.

Add to that equation the number of Nova Scotians who return to the province to retire after living and raising their families “away,” and there’s even less help for people who suddenly find themselves unable to drive.

Percentage of population over age 80 per postal code area:

With an aging population, the rates of drivers with dementia are also estimated to rise.

By 2031, nearly 30 per cent of people age 65 and older will be living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, predicts the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada. That means within the next few decades, nearly one in 11 people in Nova Scotia will have Alzheimer’s or dementia, based on population projections from Statistics Canada.

The number of centenarians on Nova Scotia’s roads has nearly tripled in the past few years. In 2014, there were 24 people in Nova Scotia over the age of 100 with an active license, up from 9 in 2007, according to information released by the province.

As an only child, Stephanie had no one else to turn to for help. She had friends – many who were experiencing similar problems with aging loved ones – but no other immediate family around.

At the time, she was also trying to juggle finding what their options were for nursing homes close by or what home care was available.

“It was one of the most stressful things there is,” she said.

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