County continues important work to support seniors

September 8, 2021

County continues important work to support seniors

On September 7, 2021, Administration presented findings from the needs assessment component of the Seniors’ Supports and Services Project. The update is part Administration’s response to Council’s direction to produce a report, by the end of 2021, on options for establishing a seniors’ hub. The overall focus of this initiative is age-friendly approaches to mental health, well-being, recreation, transit, housing, volunteerism, facilities and gathering spaces.

The needs assessment provides an understanding of the current context, perspectives, values, and needs related to seniors’ supports and services in the community. The needs assessment is comprised of multiple inputs, including: statistical profile of seniors in Strathcona County; analysis of previous County engagement results; jurisdictional scan of seniors’ supports, services and facilities; inventory of County programs, supports and services geared towards seniors; local community engagement, in particular seniors and senior-serving organizations featuring a public survey (898 responses) and targeted (27) stakeholder conversations throughout June and July, 2021.

Assessment highlight findings include:

Statistical profile

  • Local seniors’ population is increasing faster than the provincial average (highest growth of any age group in Strathcona County).
  • Roughly one quarter of seniors live in rural areas and a sizeable proportion of seniors live independently.
  • Local seniors seeking social services supports is increasing (finances and basic needs most frequently requested supports)

Previous engagement

  • Generally, residents agree that recreation and culture are “must have” municipal services.
  • Seniors make greater use of cultural facilities than younger residents.
  • Public transportation use decreases with age.
  • Many residents feel community halls and seniors centres have a positive impact on quality of life
  • Seniors listed social, physical and intellectual health as most important types of wellness that a future community wellness hub must address/
  • Seniors support rated as most important County social programs and services among residents.
  • There is a need for seniors-dedicated spaces and activities in the County

Jurisdiction scan

  • The majority of large and medium-sized municipalities in Alberta have a seniors’ centre.
  • The majority of seniors’ centres across the province are run by non-profit organizations.
  • Multiple municipalities in the region have a seniors’ coordinator.
  • Globally, there is recognition about the importance and role of promoting healthy aging.

Inventory of seniors’ supports, services and programs

  • County recreation centres are designed for participants of all ages and abilities.
  • Strathcona County Library offers large amount of seniors’ programming across the County.
  • There are four seniors affordable housing complexes in the County, four formal 55+ clubs throughout urban and rural areas.

Project engagement

  • Themes of belonging and inclusion, affordability, and accessibility for seniors were the most prominent across stakeholder conversations
  • The lower the income, the more likely for residents to rely on community halls and seniors’ centres as a source of social, recreation, and cultural activities.
  • 56.8% of respondents indicated a dedicated seniors facility is very important/somewhat important to meet their social, recreation and well-being needs.
  • Given a preference, 41.2% of respondents would prefer to access the services that were most convenient to them, regardless of age.
  • Accessibility considerations for seniors include income, transportation, technology, information and physical access.

This work reflects Strathcona County’s commitment to better understand the priorities of seniors in the community and identify opportunities to connect seniors to appropriate supports and services. For more information, including copies of the ‘what we heard’ reports, visit

Next steps include Administration considering the County’s overall strategic goals and intentions, service delivery coordination, along with seniors’ facility options that identify feasibility, costs and implications. This information will be reported to Council by the end of 2021.


Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595