Research Bulletin August 2018: Seniors and Aging

This month’s research bulletin is sharing research, reviews, analyses, and evaluations on issues related to seniors and aging.

This is a broad area of interest so we cast a big net and have pulled together resources and reports on a range of topics relevant to those serving, supporting and caring for seniors: poverty, transportation, social isolation, dementia, and residential care facilities.

1. BC Seniors’ Poverty Report Card
2. Poverty and inequality Among British Columbia’s Seniors
3. Seniors Transportation: Affordable, Appropriate, and Available
4. Who’s at Risk and What Can Be Done About It? A Review of the Literature on the Social Isolation of Different Groups of Seniors
5. Dementia in Canada

As always, our goal is to share useful research in a useful way. If you have feedback about how we can make these research bulletins more useful and/or if you want to suggest issues or service areas for us to pay attention to, please contact our Research and Policy Analyst. Subscribe to get future Research Bulletins sent directly to your inbox!


1. BC Seniors’ Poverty Report Card (2018)

By 2021, there are expected to be over one million seniors living in British Columbia. But for too many of those seniors, low incomes and related financial struggles are a painful daily reality.

The BC Seniors’ Poverty Report Card from the United Way of the Lower Mainland and SparcBC collects dozens of fact sheets and research figures in an effort to raise awareness about poverty among seniors. The second, equally important, goal of the report card is to inform evidence-based policy and program developments that will improve the quality of life for seniors living in BC.


2. Poverty and inequality Among British Columbia’s Seniors (2017)

This report from the BC Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives looks at intersecting markers of identity in order to facilitate more nuanced discussions about poverty and inequality that reflect the reality of seniors’ lived experiences.

In addition to age, the analysis incorporates factors such as gender, race and ethnicity, education and occupation, disability, sexual identity, and immigrant status in order to understand how to better support all seniors that are at risk of facing economic insecurity.

The researchers also consider the many overlapping challenges of aging—chronic disease, loss of mobility, declining health, loss of spousal and/or community support—and incorporate them into policy recommendations.


3. Seniors Transportation: Affordable, Appropriate, and Available (2018)

At The Federation’s June Conference, BC’s Seniors Advocate spoke to members about (among other things) the isolation of older people in BC and referred specifically to this report while discussing the connection between isolation and transportation options.

This report surveys and examines the transportation needs of BC’s seniors in order to: (a) understand what options are available to seniors who don’t drive; (b) find out what gaps exist when it comes to seniors’ transportation; and (c) recommend new services, supports, policies, and programs—including those that can leverage existing infrastructure.


4. “Who’s at Risk and What Can Be Done About It? A Review of the Literature on the Social Isolation of Different Groups of Seniors.” (2016)

This report builds on earlier work undertaken by Canada’s National Seniors Council on the issue of the social isolation. Specifically, this review looks at what existing literature says about how different groups of vulnerable seniors are affected by social isolation.

The review looks at nine different sub-groups of seniors (e.g., Indigenous seniors, seniors who are caregivers, immigrant seniors, LGBT seniors) and identifies promising interventions that are tackling social isolation and reconnecting these groups of seniors to their communities.

The report concludes with four key findings to inform next steps and help advocates and stakeholders increase their understanding of this complex, multifaceted, issue.


5. Dementia in Canada (2018)

This digital report delivers the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s first comprehensive look at this complex illness and its effects on seniors, caregivers, and Canada’s health systems.

The easy-to-navigate online report explains the many ways dementia impacts Canadians and explains the different types of challenges seniors living with dementia face at home, in long-term care, and in hospitals. The report also shares insight into how family doctors feel about their preparedness to help seniors living with dementia, the issues facing caregivers, and emerging challenges around palliative and end-of-life care.