Bowen has a large share of people aged 45-64 years compared to the GVRD. There were proportionally fewer seniors and young adults. Bowen also had a higher median age of 41.4 years compared to 37.4 years for the GVRD. In 1996, the median age on Bowen Island was 38.7 years, so that in five years, the median age increased by about 2.5 years. Similar aging trends are occurring throughout the province, and have implications for housing options for seniors.
Age-Friendly Community Project 2009
In 2009, the federal and provincial governments invited a number of communities to identify features to make their communities more age-friendly. In important feature was “housing that is affordable, appropriately located, well built, well designed and secure.’
The study identified a number of common Bowen barrier in providing housing, including:
- Very few existing housing options
- Rental options inaccessible for people with physical limitations/disabilities
- Housing that is unaffordable for many older people
- No options for down sizing
- Zoning that restricts many housing options
- No options for ‘aging in place’ as older people’s needs change
The study outlined a number of recommendations relating to housing, involving a diverse range of housing options, design guidelines that incorporate universal accessibility principles, communal spaces that facilitate community connections, and home maintenance support.
Bowen Island Age Friendly Community Project: Report to Council, June 2009
Other Bowen Housing for Seniors Studies
In 2007, Abbeyfield House of Bowen Society (now Snug Cove House), working with support from the Vancouver Coastal Health Society, carried out an assessment of the health care needs of Bowen seniors. The lack of housing option for seniors was identified in the Bowen Island Seniors Needs Assessment Report.