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In a new report, SFU researchers Laura Kadowaki, Andrea Wadman, Andrew Wister, and community partner Anthony Kupferschmidt examine how independent senior centres directly impact the health of older adults in British Columbia. With a growing population, the increasing need for funding to support sustainable health promotion programs for older adults is becoming more apparent.  Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, senior centres proved to be a source of support and connection for older adults in the community. To better address the emerging needs of older adults, it will be crucial to bridge the gap between the academic and community sectors.

Read the full report here.    Read the press release here.  Download the infographic here.

Key findings from the research include (as outlined by Laura Kadowaki):

  • Senior centres are welcoming and inclusive spaces that foster social connections, empowerment, and a feeling of safety and dignity for older adults.
  • Senior centres have demonstrated their ability to adapt to meet the evolving needs of older adults. During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many senior centres were able to quickly pivot, and through trial and error, find meaningful and important ways to continue supporting their isolated members despite serious limitations.
  • Sustainable funding is of utmost importance for all senior centres so that they can continue providing relevant programs and services that meet the needs of aging baby boomers, vulnerable older adults, and diverse communities.
  • Senior centres would benefit from research that supports their efforts to secure sustainable funding, creates an evidence base for advocacy, and identifies emergent community needs.

Kudos to all involved in this research.

Download Report (PDF)Download Infographic (PDF)