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Introduction

This report is a special issue of Hamilton Vital Signs.  Over the past decade, Hamilton Vital Signs has examined trends across a number of themes that affect quality of life and well-being in our city.  In this special issue, we focus on Hamiltonians ages 65 and over:  their diversity, health, housing, and income.  Where possible, we compare changes over time, where we stand relative to the provincial and national averages, differences between genders, and how seniors in different neighbourhoods fare relative to each other. Each section of the report begins with a summary of key findings, followed by detailed information on each of the theme areas and its indicators.

Download the executive summary report.

What the Findings Show

Seniors in Hamilton

  • The number of seniors has risen dramatically over the past decade. The number of seniors ages 85 and over has risen at an even higher rate, with men 85 and over being the fastest growing group of seniors.
  • Hamilton’s Ward 5 has the most seniors, while the former Ward 7 and Ward 13 are higher than average. Ward 9 has the fewest seniors.

What the Findings Show

Seniors and Diversity

  • Almost half of Hamiltonians 65 and over were born outside of Canada, with the vast majority coming from European countries.
  • The proportion of seniors born in Asian countries has risen from 9% to 14% over the past decade.
  • While the census has substantial limitations when reporting on Indigenous people, the number of seniors reporting Indigenous heritage doubled over the past decade.
  • The percentage of seniors who are visible minorities has increased over the past decade to 9%, but remains well below the 19% rate for Hamiltonians of all ages.

What the Findings Show

Seniors and Health

  • Hamilton seniors are similar to provincial averages in many health areas
  • Obesity among seniors trended up over the past decade
  • Overall, Hamilton has a higher proportion of seniors with a family doctor than the province, but this is not true for all neighbourhoods
  • Emergency Department visits are similar to the provincial average, but also shows neighbourhood variation.

What the Findings Show

Seniors and Housing

  • Nearly 75% of seniors own their own homes, most of which are single detached, and this is true even for seniors 85 and older.
  • Most seniors who rent are in buildings with more than 5 stories
  • The percentage of seniors living alone (27%) is increasing, and 70% of those are women.  For seniors 85 and over who are living alone, 78% are women.  Hamilton is higher than provincial average (27% vs 23.5%)
  • Hamilton has added 600 long term care beds over the past 15 years resulting in a total of 3,866 beds, with a waiting list of approximately 1000 people in community.

What the Findings Show

Seniors and Incomes

  • Overall, seniors’ incomes have risen faster than the cost of living since 2006.
  • After years of improvements, there has been an increase in the poverty rate among seniors, especially women
  • There is a range in seniors’ poverty rates by neighbourhoods – according to the Low Income Measure, one neighbourhood was at 66%, several were above 50%, and at other end, there were several with less than 5%.
  • Similar to the poverty rate, there has been an increase in food bank usage among seniors
  • The proportion of seniors who are participating in the labour force has doubled since 2001.

Seniors in Hamilton

The number of seniors (aged 65 and over) has risen dramatically over the past decade.  The number of seniors ages 85 and over has risen at an even higher rate, with men 85 and over being the fastest growing group of seniors.

Diversity of Seniors 

Almost half of Hamiltonians 65 and over were born outside of Canada, and the percentage of seniors who are visible minorites or who have Indigenous heritage is increasing.

Health

Hamilton seniors are similar to provincial averages in many areas of health, but trends show variation by neighbourhood.  Similar to the general population, obesity is trending up. 

Housing

Nearly 75% of seniors own their own homes, most of which are single detached, and the percentage of seniors living alone is increasing.  Hamilton has added 600 long-term care beds over the past 15 years.

Incomes

Seniors’ incomes have risen faster than the cost of living since 2006, but there has been a recent rise in poverty rates and food bank use.  The proportion of seniors who are participating in the labour force has doubled since 2001.

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