United Way recommends community-wide response to support growing senior population
Perth, February 28, 2018 — For the first time ever, there are more seniors living in Lanark County & Smiths Falls than there are children and youth and between 2011 and 2031, the senior population is expected to more than double.
Today United Way released a report entitled: A Profile of Vulnerable Seniors in the Counties of Prescott and Russell, Lanark County and Renfrew County. The report analyzes the state of vulnerable seniors in rural areas surrounding the National Capital Region and calls for a response that ensures our region’s social, health and community services can support those most in need.
While most seniors are doing well, the report found that a significant portion in some neighbourhoods could be considered “vulnerable” – often in multiple ways – which makes them more likely to experience social isolation and negative health outcomes.
In addition to providing a snapshot of vulnerable seniors, United Way made recommendations for organizations to work together across sectors to support the aging population. The recommendations include: investing in research, creating a vulnerability index, addressing the challenges facing caregivers and more.
“This report brings to light what it means to be aging in a predominantly rural community,” said Fraser Scantlebury, Regional Director, United Way Lanark County.
“As a local organization, United Way is proud to have been at the centre of this effort and we will continue in our convening role to support collective efforts resulting from the report. We are also pleased to announce that we plan to move forward on one of the recommendations from the Report, on creating a Seniors Vulnerability and Density Index for Lanark County & Smiths Falls. At the same time, we look forward to establishing with our community partners a Successful Aging Advisory Committee for our community to continue to explore the recommendation and possible solutions for Lanark County & Smiths Falls.”
At the report launch, community experts, policy leaders and advocates for seniors came together to discuss the report, vulnerability, diversity in the aging population, and how collaboration will lead to better outcomes for seniors.
“The Vulnerable Seniors Report confirms and provides further knowledge about issues we have seen in our agency as we work with seniors,” said Mills Community Support Corporation CEO, Mr. Robert Eves. “The report provides us with a more detailed view of the issues – showing just how many seniors are flying very close to the line in terms of being vulnerable in their current settings, with the very real possibility needing even more services. The proposed Seniors Vulnerability Index will certainly assist us in our work”.
“We all know that our population is aging, and thanks to this report from the United Way we have specific data from our region that will assist me in my advocacy for those I represent,” notes Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston. “The demographics and diversity in Lanark County’s communities demonstrate how much work remains to be done by all levels of government to help secure a quality standard of living for all our seniors.”
Some key findings from A Profile of Vulnerable Seniors in the Counties of Prescott and Russell, Lanark County and Renfrew County include:
- Senior women are more at risk of vulnerability than men because of longer life expectancy, lower income during productive years, and higher possibility of family abuse or violence.
- Faster and more frequent onset of disabilities such as dementia, combined with a rural context, puts seniors within limited reach to accessible lodgings, transportation services and access to specialized health services.
- Perth and Smiths Falls are the two Lanark County municipalities with the highest percentages of seniors living alone, namely 39.5% and 35.2%, respectively.
- Within the subpopulation of seniors aged 85 years and older, 3.6% of the population in that age group in Lanark County are women, whereas the relevant figure for men is only 1.9%.
To read the full report, access the online mapping and to learn more about how United Way helps vulnerable seniors, visit our website at: https://unitedwaylanarkcounty.ca/?p=1603