2015 Healthy Aging in Halton Report

Older adults (defined as those over age 65 for this report) are the fastest growing population group in Halton Region. As the number of older adults in the population grows, there is a need for increased focus on healthy aging. Healthy aging is an ongoing process of optimizing opportunities to maintain and enhance physical, mental and social health, as well as independence and quality of life over the life course. Gathering data to increase our knowledge of older adult health is important for helping to create the conditions needed for healthy aging.

This report provides a small snapshot of the health and wellbeing of older adults in Halton. This report uses data from a variety of sources, including the census, National Household Survey (NHS), Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS), Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), and IntelliHEALTH.

Compared to Ontario, older adults in Halton:

  • Had a longer life expectancy
  • Were less likely to be living in low-income
  • Were more likely to have a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree
  • Were slightly less likely to live alone
  • Were slightly more likely to have a regular medical doctor
  • Were less likely to report their general health as poor or fair.

Halton and Ontario residents had similar:

  • Reported sense of belonging to the community
  • Reported mental health
  • Reported help needed with at least one instrumental activity of daily living
  • Reported levels of exceeding the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines
  • Reported levels of physical inactivity.

Compared to Halton adults under the age of 65, Halton older adults were:

  • Less likely to have a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree
  • Less likely to have dental insurance
  • Less likely to report exceeding the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines
  • Less likely to report being current smokers
  • Less likely to report exceeding the low risk alcohol drinking guidelines
  • Less likely to be physically active
  • More likely to receive the flu shot.

While in many cases Halton’s older adults have on average similar, or better health behaviours compared to older adults in Ontario, it is important to remember that health, wellbeing and behaviours can vary substantially within the older adult population. There are environmental, structural, political, social, and personal barriers that may prevent many older adults from healthier aging. These different factors should be considered when developing policies and programs to address healthy aging in Halton. As Halton’s population continues to age, it will be important to continue to monitor the health of older adults to help inform programs, services, and policies to improve their health and quality of life.