Community-Based Programs Enhance Seniors’ Lives in the Lower Mainland

Seniors aged 65 to 74 are more likely to be spending time on structured and informal activities than their younger and older counterparts.

Vancouver, BC – Seniors who reside in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley and participate in or attend any community-based programs show a higher level of satisfaction with their quality of life and social interaction than those who do not, a new poll by Insights West conducted in partnership with the United Way of the Lower Mainland has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of seniors who reside in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, 93% say their quality of life is “good” or “very good”—a proportion that rises to 98% among those who attend community-based programs.

In addition, 87% of seniors in the Lower Mainland say their social interaction with others in their community is “very good” or “good”—including 96% of community-based program attendees.

“Roughly one in four seniors lives alone in our region: 25,000* seniors say they have no one to talk to. Being connected and socially engaged is one of the most critical factors in healthy aging,” says Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director Healthy Aging, United Way of the Lower Mainland.

The results of this survey are released in advance of the inaugural Provincial Summit on Aging, taking place in Surrey from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3. The Summit is focused on community-based seniors’ services.

Across the Lower Mainland, 13% of seniors participate in or attend any community-based programs (such as a walking club or lunch club).

Three-in-four of those who take part in community-based seniors programs (75%) say they receive companionship, while majorities also say they benefit from mental stimulation (69%), connection to the community (63%), exercise (56%) and social support (51%).

The preferred structured activities for seniors in the Lower Mainland are physical (59%), educational (37%), arts-related (27%) and field trips (25%).

Seniors aged 65 to 74 in the Lower Mainland are spending more time in structured group activities and informal social activities (15 hours a week) than those aged 55 to 64 (10 hours) and those aged 75 and over (12 hours).

“Seniors aged 65 to 74 are decidedly more in touch with music, arts and drama than any other group,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “They are also more likely to regard travel as a favourite informal activity.”

*Vancouver Coastal Health, “My Health, My Community,” 2013/14.

About United Way of the Lower Mainland:

United Way has been changing people’s lives for the better since 1930. We help kids grow up great, help families feel a sense of belonging and make sure our neighbourhoods are safe and supportive places for everyone. Across Metro Vancouver and from the Sea to Sky corridor to the Sunshine Coast and Abbottsford and beyond, we help make our community better.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from October 22 to October 25, 2017, among 453 British Columbians aged 55+ who reside in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.8 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Young
Media Relations, United Way of the Lower Mainland

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West