Grandma’s online, working part-time and volunteering too

senior citizen on computer
Getty Images

Canadian women are keeping busy in their old age, spending long hours volunteering, regularly using the internet and working more, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.

But senior women 65 and older are also more likely to be poorer than they were in the 1990s, and many of them live alone.

Here are some of the most interesting findings on Canada’s golden girls.

Facebook messages from your gran

Did your nan’s Facebook friend request make you rethink what you post in your newsfeed? You’re not alone. More than half of senior women reported using the internet in the last year. Of those, nearly four in 10 had a social media account – almost always Facebook.

Younger seniors (65-74) were more likely to use the internet, have a Facebook account and bank online than those 75 years and older.

Story continues below advertisement

There are more senior women than young girls

Senior women outnumbered girls 14 years and under for the first time in 2011, and the gap has continued to grow. There are also more senior women than ever – can you say Baby Boomers?

And more than 3 in 10 senior women live alone

31.5 per cent of senior women live alone, according to Statistics Canada. This isn’t true for seniors from all ethnic groups: senior women who are visible minorities are about half as likely to live alone.

Senior women are most likely to live in a couple, and some live with others, such as a child or with grandchildren, or in a collective dwelling like a retirement home.

Story continues below advertisement

More senior women are working than ever before

The employment rate for senior women has almost doubled in the last decade, to 9.1 per cent.

Employment among senior women had been fairly stable over the last few decades, but started rising in the 2000s, according to Statistics Canada.

In 2015, just over half of employed senior women were working part-time.

But a lot of senior women are poor

Almost 13 per cent of women aged 65 and older are low-income, defined as making 50 per cent or less of the median Canadian household income. This is close to the proportion of women 18-64 who are low-income.

Many more senior women were low-income in the 1970s, but things improved significantly in the 1990s, when seniors were more well-off than women of working age. That changed again in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Story continues below advertisement