The Well-being of Older Canadians

Sr. Barbara Anne Gooding, Maureen Sloan, Rhonda Amsel


Longevity and declining birth rates have contributed to rapidly increasing numbers, actually and relatively, of aged individuals in developed countries. Currently in Canada, 2.5 million people are 65 years of age or older, representing at least ten percent of the population (Statistics Canada, 1985). Demographers tell us that this will change to 13 percent by the year 2000 and thirty years later will reach 24 percent (Denton, Feaver & Spencer, 1986).
Various professionals and organizations are actively involved in improving the state of health, housing and economics and are investigating many other areas of social concern related to the elderly population. Studies to evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts generally focus on particular groups of individuals. Occasionally, however, it is important to consider larger populations. A randomly selected, representative sample of a national population serves an important function for understanding members of that population and as a national base for comparison. Thus, the Canada Health Survey (Health and Welfare Canada, 1981) was conducted on such a representative sample and provides information on the Canadian population as a whole. For the currently reported study, the sample of subjects 65 years and over from the Health Survey population was judged to be representative of the Canadian elderly population.

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