That’s according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.
Isobel Mackenzie, B.C.’s Seniors Advocate, says the national figures show a 1.9% increase for senior families, and a 2.3% increase for single seniors.
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But she says in B.C., the trend is the exact opposite. Senior families saw their media income slide 5.7% while singles saw an even steeper decline of 6.3%.
In a statement, Mackenzie says the numbers show common attitudes that seniors are rich are wrong.
“We have to start paying attention to what the data are telling us and stop listening to generationally divisive inaccurate generalizations that portray seniors as rich.”
She says there are a number of reasons seniors are falling into poverty, including low interest rates, the fact that many are living longer, and the failure of private pensions to keep up with increases in the costs of living in ever-expensive B.C.
With the real estate market continuing to storm in Vancouver, some of BC’s seniors are finding themselves sitting on a gold mine… a situation that can actually put them in a difficult position.
With their mortgages paid off on homes they bought fifty years ago, you could be forgiven for thinking those seniors are reaping the benefits of the boom.
But Mackenzie says it’s really a Catch-22 situation that raises questions of its own.
“How does that senior untap the equity in that home to help supplement their income?”
“At the end of the day it actually doesn’t matter what the value of the house is that you’re sitting in, does it actually produce any money for you? The only way that you can produce money is to sell it, and then you have to go live somewhere else.”
Mackenzie says some seniors may opt to become renters, but with rents also climbing, Mackenzie says that’s becoming an increasingly unreliable option.