The Co-operators partners with Victorian Order of Nurses for Seniors’ Health and Safety

GUELPH, ON, May 31, 2011 – On the eve of Seniors’ Month, The Co-operators is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) to support its physical fitness programming for older Canadians. The Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together (SMART) Program is designed for people 55 and over who wish to improve their strength, balance and flexibility, regardless of their current ability level.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, seniors account for 40 per cent of all injury hospitalizations, with falls accounting for 85 per cent of those injuries. Regular physical activity helps maintains strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, all of which reduce the risk of falls. For seniors, weight-bearing physical activity also reduces the rate of bone loss associated with osteoporosis.

“With our population aging dramatically, there is a growing need to provide programming that helps people maintain their health and independence as they get older,” said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. “Programs like those offered by the VON greatly improve seniors’ quality of life, and ultimately contribute to the overall well-being of our communities.”

The SMART Program includes both group classes as well as in-home programming for those who may not benefit from traditional fitness programs for any of a number of reasons, including mobility restrictions and health issues. All the activities are tailored to participants’ ability level.

According to Statistics Canada, the proportion of seniors is increasing more rapidly than all other age groups. In 2010, there were an estimated 4.8 million Canadians aged 65 or over; that number is projected to more than double to 10.4 million by 2036.

About The Co-operators

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is ranked #2 among the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada by Corporate Knights, and listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada. For more information visit