Many of us get that slightly niggling feeling that we would like to give more to charitable causes, or that we would like to ‘make a difference’ a little bit more. Well, it seems that Canadian Seniors are among those who already do more of this than any other group. A new report reveals that for Canadians, reaching the end of their working lives can mean the start of an increasingly benevolent lifestyle.

“Canadians over the age of 65 volunteer more hours and donate more money on average to the causes that are important to them than any other age group,” notes The Revera Report on Aging: Living a Life of Purpose, commissioned by Revera, one of Canada’s largest retirement home providers.

The report states that Canadians over 65 years of age contributed 42% of all charitable donations, amounting more than $4billion. The average donation was $2,500, which is 40% more than the national average.

Whilst the generosity of Canada’s elderly community is admirable, there is concern that the figures for charitable giving in Canada notes a discouraging future. According to CanadaHelps, authors of the 2018 Giving Report, the next eldest age bracket posted the steepest decline in donation rates of all age groups, dropping almost 7% over the last decade. This is indeed bad news for Canada’s charitable sector. Canadians aged 55 or older gave the most out of all age groups. Whilst data specific to these contributions is not yet available post 2015, that year, this group donated $6.4billion, almost double that of Canadians aged 25-54 in the same period. The Seniors were also the only group to have recorded year on year growth in donations.

As well as financial contributions, Canadian seniors have contributed almost 20% of all total volunteer hours provided nationally. When you consider the calculations by Volunteer Canada, who place a monetary value on the work offered, estimated at $27 per hour, Canadian Seniors contribute to an astonishing economic impact worth $10.9 billion.

The benefits of volunteering for Seniors are extensive, from providing a sense of purpose after retirement, to facilitating physical mobility and mental health and building connections in the community. Its easy to see why so many Canadians have become active in this area.

In a survey of 1,000 seniors over 65 across the country, Revera’s study found that 82% of participants donate money to the charities or causes that matter to them and more than one third (37%) volunteer their time.

As CanadaHelps report states, “The demographic shift in giving creates a widening ‘giving gap’ the report said. It’s clear that this is not a sustainable funding model for Canada’s charitable sector.”