Healthy Aging by United Way

Promoting the health and well-being of BC’s older adults.

healthy aging

Socially connected, active, and engaged in the community. That’s how older adults want to live their lives. And we’re here to help them do it.

Healthy Aging by United Way supports B.C. seniors to stay at home and in their communities longer. We collaborate with a vast network of partners, from governments and researchers to community-based service providers, volunteers, and donors to make this possible. Together, we’re tackling seniors’ isolation and enhancing quality of life for older British Columbians, their families, friends, caregivers, and allies.

How we do it 

We know that each community already has the assets it needs to help seniors stay connected and healthy. Healthy Aging by United Way helps discover and build on the strengths, talents, and passions that already exist in each community to make it better for everyone.

Better at Home is a program that helps seniors with simple day-to-day tasks so that they can live in their own homes and remain connected to their communities. The Government of British Columbia funds the program and United Way of the Lower Mainland manages it.  Local non-profit organizations, municipalities, and First Nations bands/councils across the province deliver these vital non-medical home support services, using a mix of dedicated volunteers, staff, and contractors. 

Better at Home’s unique ‘seniors planning for seniors’ approach means older adults help design, operate, and evaluate their local program to make sure it is meeting their needs.  

Learn more about Better at Home. 

Volunteer with Better at Home and make a difference in a senior’s life.

For more information about Better at Home, contact Camille J. Hannah, Provincial Coordinator, Healthy Aging at

Community-Based Seniors’ Services

Community-based seniors’ services and programs provide exceptional quality-of-life benefits to seniors, helping them to remain active, live healthy lifestyles, and maintain their independence. The following grants help seniors get the most out of their lives. 

  • Choose to Move – This 6-month personal planning and support program promotes greater physical activity among older adults who are not regularly active. It is offered in partnership with Active Aging BC and UBC’s Active Aging Research Team.
  • Integrated Community Programs for Older Adults with Higher Needs – provides programming to homebound, at risk, and isolated seniors so they can stay in their communities as long as possible:
    • Social Prescribing – Helps primary care physicians and other health practitioners identify and support seniors at risk of frailty. Social Prescribing programs work with individuals to create wellness plans and link them to community-based seniors support services like Better at Home 
    • TAPS (Therapeutic Activation Programs for Seniors) – This prevention-oriented program supports homebound seniors experiencing barriers in accessing community resources, delaying their use of health services like adult day, complex care, and assisted living. TAPS is based on the Creston, B.C. wellness model.
    • Family & Friend Caregiver Support Provides support for locally-based caregiver programs to connect people to resources provided by Family Caregivers of British Columbia (FCBC) – a registered non-profit dedicated 100% to supporting family caregivers.  This initative also provides ongoing support, personalized coaching, and counselling for caregivers helping seniors with higher needs.  
    • Neigbourhood Connectedness – supporting Men’s Sheds and Arts & Health initiatives across B.C.

For more information about CBSS Grants, contact Camille J. Hannah, Provincial Coordinator, Healthy Aging at

Community Engagement

Are we getting it right?
Making sure the work Healthy Aging by United Way does is inclusive and relevant means being accountable to the Community-Based Seniors’ Services (CBSS) sector.  

To help us, we work with a number of groups to ensure we’re headed in the right direction including the CBSS Leadership Councilthe Healthy Aging Provincial Reference Group, the Municipal Caucus, and the B.C. Seniors Funding Table.  

Participation is key
Members of the CBSS sector meet and collaborate regularly to uncover how we can work better together. In 2017, the inaugural Provincial Summit on Aging invited delegates to participate in moving Healthy Aging by United Way’s plan forward. In 2019, the second Summit was held in Richmond, B.C. on November 7 and 8, and expanded the important work of communities supporting local seniors.  

Annual Regional Consultations and provincial Working Groups are among the ongoing activities that ensure we’re on the right track.

Online and accessible
Healthy Aging’s Collaborative Online Resources and Education platform, or CORE, is an online network for leaders in seniors’ services to access resources, training, and tools to strengthen and sustain the vital programs they deliver every day. 

CORE helps seniors get the best community support possible through collaboration, consistency, and cooperation of the sector.

For more information about Community Engagement, contact Barbara McMillan, Provincial Coordinator, Community Engagement at

Sector Strengthening

Impactful Evaluation
Project Impact Healthy Aging builds capacity within CBSS organizations to implement credible self-studies and developmentally evaluate their work with people and communities. The program recognizes the power of partnerships, blending of ideas among like-minded organizations, and develops strategic leaders who inspire the sector to prove and improve their initiatives.

Purposeful Volunteer Engagement
Volunteerism helps build community connections and provides people with a sense of purpose and belonging. Our volunteer engagement initiatives include: training events, volunteer celebrations, and sharing volunteer management best practices, capacity building initiatives, training opportunities, and webinars with the CBSS network using our Healthy Aging CORE platform. 

Effective Public Policy
The Public Policy Institute, a leadership training program, is characterized by innovative small group training, case studies, and ongoing applied learning through participants’ own policy projects. This six-month program is specifically designed to help non-profit leaders and their organizations increase their knowledge of the public policy process and their capacity to influence it.

Inspiring Leaders
Leadership Fellows is a program that brings together senior and executive leaders of CBSS organizations for seven learning modules throughout the year, to build their capacity for developing leadership in others, and in doing so, extend and amplify their organizational impact.

For more information about Sector Strengthening, contact Bobbi Symes, Assistant Director, Population Health at

Re-Thinking Aging

Here’s the reality in B.C.: a growing population of older adults, increased life expectancies, extensive research and movement towards healthy aging, and more active, engaged, healthy, and independent seniors than ever before! Yet, common misconceptions, stereotypes, and ageism continue unabated – in the media, in workplaces, in healthcare, in communities, and within families.

Healthy Aging by United Way is challenging the current discourse on aging, and is introducing new resources to assist the Community-Based Seniors’ Services (CBSS) sector in exploring ageism and healthy aging in their organizations and communities in the following ways:

  • Celebrating 80 over 80
  • Establishing and Refining Toolkits
  • Convening a National Advisory Group

For more information about Re-Thinking Aging, contact Barbara McMillan, Provincial Coordinator, Community Engagement at

Our Partners in the Community-Based Seniors’ Services (CBSS) Sector

Healthy aging is a shared responsibility. To help us, we work with a number of groups to ensure we’re headed in the right direction, including:  

  • Healthy Aging Provincial Reference Group: Representing key populations and diverse geographic regions, the Healthy Aging Provincial Reference Group is made up of policy makers, senior officials, and leaders from across B.C. It acts as a strategic advisory body to Healthy Aging by United Way.
  • CBSS Leadership Council: Consisting of older adults and service providers, the CBSS Leadership Council serves as a consultative and governance body for the work of Healthy Aging by United Way.
  • Municipal Caucus: Comprised of locally elected officials and municipal staff, the Municipal Caucus champions the CBSS Declaration and supports for seniors at the local government level.
  • BC Seniors Funding Table: Consists of CBSS sector funders who work to coordinate investments, funding models, evaluation criteria, and the strategice funding direction of the sector.

Why it matters

For communities to be great, they have to be great for us all, at every age. Our rapidly growing elder population means it’s never been more important to invest in supports that help seniors live active, healthy and safe lives, in their own homes, for as long as possible.  

Healthier, happier seniors means healthier, happier more vital and robust communities for everyone. 

See what we’re doing

We’re working to make B.C. better for seniors. Take a look. 


Ways to support seniors

Sign the CBSS Declaration to help recognize the important role of community programs and services in the overall health, well-being, and quality of life for older adult citizens in B.C.

Sign up for the Healthy Aging CORE bi-monthly eNewsletter for information about the CBSS sector, helpful resources, and all things healthy aging!


Want more information?

United Way of the Lower Mainland
4543 Canada Way
Burnaby, BC V5G 4T4 

604.268.1312 (General enquiries) 

View the 2018/2019 Healthy Aging by United Way Annual Report here:

Who we are

Kahir Lalji

Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director, Population Health
604.294.8929 ext. 2213 

Jean Rikhof Administrative Support Staff, Population Health

Bobbi Symes, Assistant Director, Population Health
604.294.8929 ext. 2303

Josh Cook, Project Assistant, Population Health
604.294.8929 ext. 1307

Camille J. Hannah, Provincial Coordinator, Healthy Aging
604.294.8929 ext. 2245 

Barbara McMillan, Provincial Coordinator, Community Engagement, Population Health
604.294.8929 ext. 2236 

Isaac Shr, Provincial Coordinator, Grants & Data, Population Health
604.294.8929 ext 2259 

Angela Brooks, Provincial Coordinator, Special Projects, Population Health

Dr. Beverley Pitman, Senior Regional Community Developer, Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Sea to Sky, Population Health
604.294.8929 ext: 2277 

Jessica Kleissen, Regional Community Developer, Interior BC, Population Health

Cathy Holmes, Regional Community Developer, Vancouver and Gulf Islands, Population Health

Sarrah Storey, Regional Community Developer, Northern BC, Population Health

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