Stats Canada released its 2012 report on Aboriginal seniors in population centres on Tuesday.
Analyst Vivian O’Donnell says the number of Aboriginal seniors in Canada has increased by leaps and bounds.
“It is a young population, but what we’re seeing is that there is a demographic shift going on where there are more Aboriginal seniors. From 2001 to 2011, the number of Aboriginal seniors in Canada actually doubled to 82,690.”
Employment for Aboriginal seniors across the country was also on the rise according to O’Donnell.
“Aboriginal seniors holding a paid job almost doubled between 2001 to 2011. About 7% of Aboriginal seniors and population centres held up a job in 2001 and it’s up to 13% as of 2011, it’s actually quite similar to what’s going on in the non-Aboriginal population.”
Provincially, the ageing Aboriginal population seems to be out gaining their Canadian counterparts when it comes to residing in urban communities.
“There are about 14,000 Aboriginal people 65 years and older and about 8100 of them live in population centres in BC, so about 57% of Aboriginal seniors in BC we’re living in population centres in 2011 and that’s a little bit higher than nationally. Nationally it was 52%,” says O’Donnell.
However, the picture is not all hearts and flowers as many Aboriginal seniors struggle with their day to day health.
“The vast majority of aboriginal seniors are facing health challenges as 88% of aboriginal senior women reported having at least one chronic condition and for men, it was 86%,” says O’Donnell.
According to the survey, 9 out of 10 Aboriginal seniors living in population centres suffer from at least one chronic condition with high blood pressure and arthritis being the most commonly reported conditions.
In 2011, living with a spouse or partner was the most common living arrangement for both Aboriginal men and women at 65 % for men and 40 % for women.
About one-quarter of Aboriginal seniors living in population centres were in low-income situations compared to 13% of non-Aboriginal seniors in 2011.