Canadian retirement plans face life support without adequate home care

  • Survey: Canadians fear becoming a burden to families, but firmly want to stay in their homes
  • Demand set to skyrocket for already stretched PSW services due to growth in ageing population
  • HomeEquity Bank recognizes five Home Care Heroes to mark PSW Day 2023

TORONTO, May 15, 2023 – With PSW Day set for May 19, HomeEquity Bank, provider of the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, is sounding the alarm on the urgent need for more Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and in-home healthcare professionals to support Canada’s ageing population.

“Our goal is to help our clients age in place. However, without access to adequate in-home care, it may be challenging for many Canadians to live retirement on their terms,” said Vivianne Gauci, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience and Chief Marketing Officer at HomeEquity Bank. “The retirement plans of Canadians are often much simpler than you’d expect, with many expressing a desire to age in the home they love.”

New IPSOS survey data commissioned by HomeEquity Bank finds Canadians 45+ overwhelmingly (90 per cent) want to age in place but the vast majority (87 per cent) would have to make financial sacrifices to afford essential home care. In fact, more than three in four (78 per cent) Canadians would only consider moving into an assisted living facility if they couldn’t afford in-home care.

More than 40 per cent of Canadians 45+ would forego leaving a legacy for their children as a priority over being able to age in place. Other forecasted financial sacrifices include:

  • Home renovations (42 per cent)
  • Paying down debt (26 per cent)
  • Cutting back on food, living and entertainment expenses (38 per cent)
  • And most concerningly, foregoing expensive medications (nine per cent)

“Many of our clients already access equity in their home to pay for in-home care–and we do expect that number to increase,” continued Gauci. “But if accessing home care workers becomes a growing challenge, all the money in the world won’t help them maintain their dignity and comfort they deserve in their later years.”

The research also pinpoints the emotional strain on Canadians when it comes to facing ageing in place without adequate home care:

  • More than half (53 per cent) report concerns about their emotional security
  • Two in five (43 per cent) say their physical or mental health would be compromised.
  • A further two in five worry they’d become a burden on their families financially, emotionally or physically.

For PSW Day 2023, HomeEquity Bank is shining a light on some concerning data as more Canadians say access and affordability to PSWs has worsened and report a growing need to address burnout for PSWs.

The IPSOS research showed that nearly three in five (58 per cent) Canadians polled say their quality of life would be at risk without adequate PSW support. It also found that respondents believe that in the last two years:

  • Access to PSW support is worse (40 per cent)
  • PSW availability has declined in their area (35 per cent)
  • PSW affordability is worse (44 per cent)
  • The time a PSW is able to spend with a client has decreased (35 per cent)
  • Efforts to address PSW burnout have gotten worse (41 per cent)

Per StatCan data, on July 1, 2022, almost one in five Canadians (18.8 per cent) were at least 65 years of age. Based on the IPSOS research, today just two per cent of Canadians 45+ polled report having a PSW but, as the population ages, survey responses indicate the need will balloon by up to 15 times.

“More than ever, people want to live and age at home, and we are determined to meet the needs of our clients, their families and our communities, across Canada,” says Nancy Lefebre, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at SE Health. “The pandemic showed us that home is the best and safest place to be and SE Health is working to attract the right people who are making an impact and fulfilling our purpose: to bring hope and happiness to people in need. We are grateful for the support of our partners like HomeEquity Bank who are helping to ease some of these challenges and collaborating with us to find solutions as the population ages.”

In recognition of the importance of supporting PSW training programs, HomeEquity Bank has developed a bursary to support a PSW graduate through partner SE Health.

2023 HomeEquity Bank Announces Home Care Hero Award Winners

The HomeEquity Bank Home Care Hero awards acknowledge the vital work that hundreds of thousands of in-home healthcare professionals provide nationally for Canadians who want to age in place, something that the bank believes all Canadians should have the right to do. This year’s awards honour five Home Care Heroes, with each PSW receiving $2,500:

  • Ashley Ramsawak | Toronto ON, Integracare. Nominated by Lee Grunberg: “Ashley is particularly skilled in caring for clients that have complex care plans. She has a wonderful way of always maintaining her client’s dignity and independence, while at the same time ensuring her safety and care needs are met.”
  • Bernadette Brady | Pickering ON, CBI Health. Nominated by Charles Simmons: “In addition to happily providing physical assistance, Bernadette contributes significantly to my positive outlook on life, despite the various challenges. I can’t imagine being without her enhancement to my life.”
  • Edith Linsanga | Winnipeg MB. Nominated by Kamalesh Pandya: “Our family does not view Edith as a homecare worker – she is family. Her acts of compassion and caring are legendary in our family but what strikes me most is how she looks directly in my father’s eyes and talks directly to him in a soft, gentle, reassuring voice.”
  • Martha Penagos | Toronto ON, Home Concierge. Nominated by Carmela Terzo: “Martha was providing care to a lady who was originally from Jamaica… She learned to prepare [Jamaican] food to ensure that her client had the best experience. She always creates magic moments.”
  • OlubuKola Alabi (Bukky) | Whitby ON, SE Health. Nominated by Dennis Hywarren: “My wife Lynn has dementia, and my intent is to keep her at home and not put her in a long-term care facility. I feel with [Bukky] helping, my goal will be possible. Bukky’s outlook and attitude is what makes her my hero.”


About HomeEquity Bank

HomeEquity Bank is a Schedule 1 Canadian Bank offering a range of reverse mortgage solutions including the flagship CHIP Reverse Mortgage™ product. The company was founded more than 35 years ago to address the financial needs of Canadians who wanted to access the equity of their top asset – their home. The Bank is committed to empowering Canadians aged 55 plus to live the retirement they deserve, in the home they love. HomeEquity Bank is a portfolio company of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, a global investor that delivers retirement income for 336,000 current and retired teachers in Ontario. For more information, visit

For further information:

HomeEquity Bank Weber Shandwick Canada for HomeEquity Bank
Vivianne Gauci, SVP Customer Experience and Chief Marketing Officer Adam Bornstein
Phone: (416) 413-4661 Phone: (905) 505-2540
Email: Email:


*Survey Methodology: Survey conducted by Ipsos, on behalf of HomeEquity Bank from April 6-11, 2023, polled 1,000 Canadians 45+ to assess public opinion on the role and contributions of Personal Support Workers and financial and emotional barriers to access. 3.5 margin of error, 19 times out of 20 if all Canadians were polled.