Percentage of seniors higher in Olds than Alberta
The Town of Olds’ senior population is double the provincial average, according to 2011 Census numbers released by Statistics Canada in May.
Town of Olds has 1,585 residents aged 65 years old and over, out of a population of 8,235, which represents a percentage rate of 19.25. Meanwhile, Alberta has 405,725 residents aged 65 years old and over, out of a population of 3,645,257, which represents a percentage rate of 11.13.
According to University of Calgary sociologist Kevin McQuillan, the senior number is quite typical for small Canadian towns.
“Typically, what it is, is that more of the young people leave and drift off towards the city,” he said.
“For seniors, if you have owned your house in the community for a long time, and of course if you have friends and relatives around, the likelihood of moving off really isn’t big for them.”
Moreover, increasing real estate prices in Calgary and Edmonton act as a moving deterrent.
“In many communities across Canada, if you are say 65 and thinking about selling your house to move to a place like Calgary, the housing costs are going to be a whole lot higher,” said McQuillan.
“That’s got to be a disincentive I would think for some older people, who might otherwise want to move, especially if their kids are now living to Calgary or Edmonton.”
Both Olds and Alberta’s percentage rates have increased when compared with numbers from the 2006 Census. In 2006, 18.63 per cent of the Olds population was aged 56 years old and over, compared with 10.74 per cent of the population of Alberta.
Town of Olds director of community services Barbara Hill says the 2011 Olds population has kept a similar profile to the 2006 population.
“In 2006, we had the same profile. The numbers were obviously lower, but we had the same general profile,” she said.
The Town of Olds will add the 2011 Census numbers to its research.
“We have to take a look at how we assess the social trends,” said Hill.
“If we see significant changes that need to be addressed, we will.”