Older Adult Recreation Strategy

The City of Vaughan Announces Older Adult Strategy to Prepare for Aging Population…


As you know, the City of Vaughan is one of the most dynamic and single fastest growing municipalities. Although Vaughan is expanding as a city, it also has an aging population. The City of Vaughan Recreation Services has created an Older Adult Strategy to identify the changing recreational, social, cultural, and physical needs of older adults and develop a plan to implement services that address these needs.

According to the last census conducted in 2011, there were 63,725 residents aged 55 years of age and older in Vaughan representing over 21% of the city’s total population with half of this portion of the population being between the ages of 55 and 65. The portion of the City’s population aged 50 years of age and older is projected to increase 88% from 2011 to 2031. This means the City of Vaughan must plan for an older adult population of 120,000 residents and will require a higher demand of municipal recreation services in the next 5 years. Therefore, the City has researched and developed an up-to-date strategy for recreation services so that the City of Vaughan is prepared to deliver services.


Older Adult Recreation Strategy Objectives

  • assess existing older adult programs, services, facilities, policies, clubs, fees and resources
  • identify and analyze gaps in service delivery
  • consult with older adult population to identify leisure trends and best practices
  • develop an implementation strategy


The Consultation Process:

One of the ways in which the City of Vaughan can fully understand the needs of older adult residents, is to actually hear from the residents themselves! The City of Vaughan’s consultations included:

  • meeting with S.A.V.I (Seniors Association of Vaughan Initiative
  • surveys provided to Older Adult Clubs and Older Adult residences
  • resident surveys available in hard copy and post on the City of Vaughan and Vaughan Public Libraries website
  • consultation with staff, Members of Council, social service agencies and private older adult residences/nursing homes, Vaughan Public Libraries, representatives of the Region of York and each member municipality.

Older Adult Activity Participation Trends:


Social trends research has consistently concluded that the older adult of today and the near future (specifically those among the “baby boom” generation) will have different recreational interests compared to traditional seniors of the past. The most important trends associated with changes in recreation program and activity participation projected for the future among the older adult age group are:

  • The “baby boom” generation is participating in active pursuits (particularly exercise and fitness and outdoor sports) longer into their older years than did the previous generation of seniors
  • Many “baby boomers” have a greater desire for novelty, escape, and authentic experiences than previous cohorts of older adults and as such are willing participants in new and adventurous forms of leisure and are opting for more physically challenging experiences
  • New types of “clubs” are increasing in popularity with a focus on individual interests such as trips, trekking and hiking, wine clubs, and book clubs, while traditional service clubs are experiencing declining membership
  • “Baby boomers” tend to work into their late sixties (or beyond), and indicate a desire for programming after work (weekday evenings), or on weekend days
  • Older adult recreational programming will need to include a range of programs and activities at various skill levels that not only reflect physical ability but also the great range and variety of interests; this means that there must be variety and flexibility in planning and delivering recreation services, programs and activities to this age group in the future

Barriers to Recreation Participation for Older Adults


The barriers that inhibit participation in recreation programs and activities for older adults vary based on many healthy, social and economic factors. Based on the consultation results include:

  • Physical accessibility, which can include a lack of transportation or a physical barrier to accessing a facility
  • Safety concerns, including fear of injury and a lack of a safe place to be active
  • Lack of available or accessible information on programs and services particularly for those older adults that have limited capacity in English
  • Lack of physical and emotional support from family or friends
  • Social isolation, lack of a friend or partner to participate with
  • Lack of motivation
  • Cost

Service Delivery for Successful Implementation


  • develop a mission statement associated with the planning and provision of municipal recreation services for the older adult age group
  • strengthen and enhance the essential role of Recreation Services to develop the capacity to respond to the anticipated growth in demand for recreation participation
  • recreation services needs to play a greater leadership role in developing and facilitating community based service provision within the older adult recreation service area
  • facilitate the evolution of the current Older Adult Club model to ensure their sustainability in the future

Moving Forward…

I look forward to seeing the progression of the Older Adult programs that the City of Vaughan will work towards in the upcoming years, so that our older friends and family members can enjoy! The Older Adult Strategy is the first step in developing a standard that will provide service excellence for our older adult residents in Vaughan. The reports have given staff background information on a new generation of aging adults that includes new trends, needs and limitation, and will help guide the City of Vaughan in producing policy and programs to set a standard of quality in delivery! To read about the Older Adult Strategy with full reports and study results, click here.

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