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 BC 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 

Each community is already filled with 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.

Community-Based Seniors’ Services

Community-based seniors services programs provide exceptional quality-of-life benefits to seniors, helping them to remain active and engaged in their communities. 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 (65+) 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 care programs to homebound 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. Works with individuals to create wellness plans and links them to community-based seniors support services like Better at Home 
    • TAPS (Therapeutic Activation Programs for Seniors) – This prevention-oriented program based on the Creston, BC wellness model supports homebound seniors experiencing barriers in accessing community resources, delay their use of health services like adult day and complex care and assisted living.
    • Caregiver support for family & friends – Provides support for locally-based caregiver programs to access to resources offered by Family Caregivers of British Columbia. (FCBC) – a registered non-profit dedicated 100% to supporting family caregivers.  This initative also provides ongoing support and counselling for caregivers helping seniors with higher needs.  

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 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.

Community engagement

Are we getting it right?
Making sure the work United Way’s Healthy Aging Team 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 Leadershipthe Healthy Aging Provincial Reference Group, the Municipal Caucus, and the BC Seniors Funding Table.  

Participation is key
Members of the CBSS meet and connect regularly to uncover how we can work better together. In 2017, the inaugural Provincial Summit on Aging invited delegates to participate in moving the Healthy Aging by United Way plan forward. In 2019, the Summit will be held at the Executive Hotel in Richmond, BC November 6, 7 and 8 and will further expand the important work of communities supporting local seniors.  

Regional forums and provincial working groups are among the ongoing activities that ensure we’re on the right track.

Ways to support seniors
Sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with events and other sector updates. Sign the CBSS declaration to show your support for the CBSS sector. 

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 to live well through collaboration, consistency and cooperation in the sector. It will also help match volunteers through programs like United Way-managed Better at Home with volunteer opportunities in their community. 

Innovation & Strategy

Building a healthy, community-based seniors’ services sector meeting the needs of all seniors means identifying gaps in knowledge and resources. Healthy Aging by United Way works with key partners in the community-based services sector (CBSS) to take action in underserved areas and is committed to affiliating with leaders already championing programs and services that reinforce our collective impact.

Innovative partnerships could include, but are not limited to

  • Neighbourhood Connectedness – Micro-funding for communities to use online toolkits to start and maintain social networks fostering community inclusion.
  • Men’s Sheds – Peer-run, friendly, inclusive and creative spaces for men to gather and socialize through shared workshops.
  • Reimagining Aging – Tackling and addressing public misconceptions about aging.
  • Emergency Preparedness – Helping BC’s seniors survive on their own, without rescuer assistance, for a period of time after a critical event, such as a weather disaster or financial crisis.
  • Social Enterprise and Social Procurement – Leading the sector to develop new means to maximize profits for organizations, while benefitting society and the environment.
  • Celebrating 80 over 80 – Celebrating older leaders and their vast knowledge from varying professions, educational and social backgrounds to improve the lives of others in their communities.

More about innovation and strategy will be available as these partnerships are fostered and project plans are established.

Better at Home Provincial Evaluation Recommendations and Strategies -2017-2018 (pdf)

Better at Home Rural and Remote Pilot Project Final Evaluation Report – 2017 (pdf) 

Provincial Summit on Aging Final Report  2017 (pdf)

Raising the Profile Project Literature Review Executive Summary  2017 (pdf) 


Request for Proposals

Healthy Aging by United Way:
Integrated Community-Based Programs for Older Adults with Higher Needs Program

The United Way of the Lower Mainland invites applications from qualified evaluators to conduct a summative evaluation of a 2.5 year demonstration project focused on integrated community-based programs for older adults with higher needs.

Details of the Request for Proposals are found in the attached document.

Deadline for Submission: September 30, 2019

Please direct any questions you have about this RFP to Bobbi Symes, Assistant Director, Population Health, United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Our partners in the Community-based Seniors’ Services Sector

Healthy aging is a shared responsibility. Making sure the work United Way’s Healthy Aging Team 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:  

  • Healthy Aging Provincial Reference Group: The Healthy Aging Provincial Reference Group represents key populations and diverse geographical regions and is made up of policy makers, senior officials, and leaders from across BC. It acts as a strategic advisory body to Healthy Aging by United Way.
  • CBSS Leadership Council: The CBSS Leadership Council consists of older adults and service providers, and serves as a consultative and governance body for work of Healthy Aging by United Way.
  • Municipal Caucus: The Municipal Caucus consists of locally elected officials and municipal staff, and champions the CBSS Declaration, partnerships, and support for seniors and Healthy Aging by United Way at the local government level.
  • BC Seniors Funding Table

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 BC better for seniors. Take a look. 

Sign up for our newsletter. 


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 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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Tracy GreenHealthy Aging