Women have longer life expectancies, which leads to many married women outliving their husbands, thus losing the protective effects of marriage such as care-giving from the partner as well as social and financial support . The majority of continuing care recipients are unattached (single, widowed or divorced) elderly women .
Unattached senior women have the highest poverty rate of any family type in Canada of 46%, compared to unattached men who have a poverty rate of 33% . Costs of continuing care act as a barrier for senior women of all income levels . Costs of public services can be subsidized or reduced in some cases, however a lack of resources and facilities often leave Canadians who need continuing care without adequate services . Even women who can afford to pay for private services may find it financially straining .
The majority of continuing care providers, both paid and unpaid are women . In 2007, more than one in five unpaid caregivers provided care for seniors . Although many women regard care-giving as personally rewarding, it can also be physically, emotionally and financially demanding. Caregivers often exhaust their own care-giving capacities before considering continuing care services as an alternative.