Impact Stories

Senior-serving agencies measure their impact through Project Impact

Seven agencies in the Community-Based Seniors’ Services (CBSS) sector revealed how their programs are life-changing at United Way BC's Healthy Aging Project Impact Showcase on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

Due to BC’s aging population, demand for programs and services supporting older British Columbians is higher than ever. That’s why there is a continued commitment by United Way BC, the Province of BC, and the Community-Based Seniors’ Services (CBSS) sector to develop and enhance the work being done in communities to keep seniors active, connected, and engaged. United Way BC’s developmental evaluation course, called “Project Impact Healthy Aging,” supports this vital work. 

Over the past eight months, seven teams from nine senior-serving non-profit agencies located across the province participated in researching the activities of their own organizations. By interviewing participants and analyzing data they were able to measure their success, as well as identify gaps, all in an effort to serve their participants better.  

On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, those agencies presented their findings at the Project Impact Healthy Aging Showcase, held in Vancouver, BC at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House Annex.  

It was a full house at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House Annex in Vancouver, BC, on June 6, 2023, as non-profit agencies presented their findings through Project Impact Healthy Aging.

Measuring impact and identifying areas of improvement

The presentations were eye-opening and powerful, as agencies spoke of how their programs are improving the lives of seniors, while also revealing a strong dependency on the services they offer.  

Beacon Community Services from Victoria said some seniors reported that the organization’s wellness programs gave them a purpose to live. At Valley Community Services in Creston, a senior participant said the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors (TAPS) “has saved my life and continues to be my lifeline.”  At Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre in the South Okanagan, the TAPS program aims to reduce loneliness and isolation, with one program participant stating, “TAPS saved my life, I would be lost without it.”  

The Valley Community Services team are pictured at the Project Impact Healthy Aging Showcase on June 6, 2023.

Some agencies say the findings fueled efforts to connect seniors with other resources in the community to create greater interdependence by working collaboratively with other organizations and programs in the region to create a social safety net for seniors. Agencies recognized that much of their work was one-on-one and that the seniors were wanting and needing more group gatherings as well as support in understanding that they can also help one another.  

The evaluation course armed these agencies with the data needed to make improvements to their services, such as at Literacy Now in Cowichan, where staff will focus efforts on internet safety and security, and navigating the online healthcare system, as part of their digital literacy program for seniors.  

Eastshore TAPS, a new program serving isolated seniors in a rural and remote area on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake in BC’s southern interior, found that the program gave participants a sense of security to age in place. During the interview and survey process, seniors requested more learning opportunities like workshops and classes. 

The East Shore TAPS South Kootenay Lake team at the Healthy Aging Project Impact Showcase on June 6, 2023.

At the NexusBC Community Resource Centre in Vernon, staff gained a deeper understanding of the emotional rollercoaster ride some older adults experience when retiring and living on a fixed income. The organization provides information navigation and referral services to help seniors become more educated about their retirement income, pension, subsidies, and any services they may be eligible for. The evaluation process helped the organization learn of their client’s desire for group and social activities.

The Nexus BC Community Resource Centre team at the Healthy Aging Project Impact Showcase on June 6, 2023.

Meanwhile, the Seniors Outreach and Resource Centre in Kelowna says it will use the data to lobby policymakers for safe and affordable housing for seniors, calling the situation “dire” as older adults struggle on fixed incomes, combined with the rising cost of living and inflation, to afford housing in a city facing an affordability crisis and a rental vacancy rate of less than 1%.  

CBSS agencies dedicated to proving and improving impact

We would like to thank the participating agencies of the 2023 Project Impact Healthy Aging cohort for their leadership, commitment, and dedication to the evaluation process and the seniors they serve in their communities.  

These agencies pushed themselves to be critical and reflective while remaining open to feedback to ensure their work is meaningful and relevant, in service to older British Columbians.  

Kahir Lalji is the Provincial Director of Government Relations & Government Programs at United Way British Columbia.

Project Impact Healthy Aging is fully funded by the BC Government and facilitated by Dialogues in Action. For more information, visit our website here: Healthy Aging Programs for Seniors | United Way BC (