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Overall, Canada’s towns and cities are seen to be easy places for older people to live.
Affordable housing for seniors is a challenge across the country.
Quality life for older people appears to be highest in BC, and among the oldest males in our sample.
When respondents are asked which ONE factor could improve life in their towns for older people, the most common response is “more home care services”, followed by a variety of municipal planning ideas.
Of the 17 Canadian cities with populations of 400,000 or more we studied, Peterborough is seen to have by far the highest CARP Age-Friendly Index™ score, followed by Winnipeg and Montreal.
Cities in the prairies score lowest (Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna), chiefly because of the lack of transit and pedestrian amenities.
Residents of the major cities score their towns higher than those who do not live in cities largely due to access to public transit.
The WHO Guidebook to Age-Friendly Cities lists a large number of attributes of a model age-friendly city. We have reduced those attributes to five key metrics:
• Ease of living overall
• Ease of using transit
• Ease of accessing affordable housing
• Ease of pedestrian access
* Ease of accessing health care and home care services
Respondents were asked to rate their cities or towns (or the closest town) for each of these attributes, on a four point semantic scale ranging from “very easy” to “not at all easy”.
Overall, three quarters of respondents (77%) say it is “very easy” or “easy” for older people to live in their towns, and just less than a third take the most positive position (very easy to live here – 30%). Overall satisfaction is highest in BC and among the oldest retired males.
Just more than half say that transit is easy to use in their town (55%), and few (13%) say it is “very easy to use”. Satisfaction with transit is higher in BC, among the oldest respondents and among retired males.Just more than half say that transit is easy to use in their town (55%), and few (13%) say it is “very easy to use”. Satisfaction with transit is higher in BC, among the oldest respondents and among retired males.
Affordable housing is a challenge, and just one quarter say it is easy to find (27%), including very few (4%) who say it is “very easy” to find. Satisfaction with affordable housing is higher in Quebec and among the oldest retired males.
Pedestrian amenities are ample, and more than half say it easy for older pedestrians to get around (59%), including just 10% who say it is “very easy”. Ease of pedestrian access is higher in BC and among older retired males.
Ease of access to home care and health care services is good, with two thirds saying it is easy (62%) and 10% saying “very easy to access”. Satisfaction with health care and home care services is higher in the Prairies and among older retired males.