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Local recreational resources for the aged : a comparative survey of two Vancouver districts (1957-8) Andresson, Edda

Abstract

The increasing number of persons surviving into old age, the prolongation of the period spent in retirement, and the social changes resulting from urbanization and industrialization, have all combined to make the use of leisure time by the senior citizens an urgent social problem. For this study, two districts from the City of Vancouver, both of which had a high proportion of senior citizens, were selected and compared. The purpose was to assess the effectiveness of existing resources in meeting, the recreational needs of the senior citizens in the two areas. Foremost was the question of the nature of existing resources, their availability to the general population, and. their availability to senior citizens. It also attempted to throw some light on the meaning of recreation to the older person, and the extent to which he is willing or able to involve himself in meeting his own recreational needs. For the purpose of gaining information the cooperation was sought from ministers of local churches, and pensioners' organizations, through the use of questionnaires. These were followed up by personal interviews with staff of social and recreational agencies, representative men and women, and interested citizens. The socio-economic characteristics of the two areas are described, and the recreational resources available and. the use made of them by old people are analyzed. Many groups that replied indicated that the provision of recreation was part of their purpose, but that social action was their primary concern. The questionnaire was useful, but to determine the needs that are considered important by the recreation authorities and the pensioners, it was necessary to make further inquiries through personal interviews with people concerned with the issue. These findings are that the programmes studied are able to meet with varying degrees of success the needs of the senior citizens for companionship with their own group. The extension of existing facilities and programmes, and more frequent meetings are needed, however, to satisfy the emotional and leisure-time needs of senior citizens. In the last chapter, the recreational resources and needs are reviewed and the limitations of the survey are discussed. It appears that the survey dealt primarily with older people of limited financial means who enjoy sufficiently good health to go out to meetings. Larger questions regarding the recreational needs and resources available to all senior citizens, would require further surveys to answer them properly.

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