09/10/2015 07:06 EDT

Global AgeWatch Index 2015 Ranks Canada Fifth In Treatment Of Seniors

A low poverty rate and universal healthcare kept Canada on top.

Canada may have fallen one spot, but it still ranks among the best places to reach your golden years.

The country ranks fifth on the 2015 Global AgeWatch Index, a list of 96 nations that are ordered according the quality of life their older residents enjoy.

Canada's placement on the list marks a drop of one spot from the 2014 index, when it ranked fourth.

Here are the top 10 ranked countries in the 2015 Global AgeWatch Index:

Photo gallery The Top 10 Best Countries To Grow Old In, According to AgeWatch See Gallery

The index was devised by non-profit network HelpAge International, using data from organizations such as the UN, the World Bank, the WHO and UNESCO.

Rankings are drawn up by looking at four categories:

  • Income security, which takes into account indicators such as poverty rates among seniors, pension coverage and GDP per capita;
  • Health status, which looks at areas such as life expectancy and psychological well-being;
  • Capability, which examines older people's employment levels and educational statuses;
  • Enabling environment, or the safety, civic freedom, transit access and social connections that elderly populations enjoy.

While Canada ranked fifth overall, it sat in the top 10 in all these categories.

It ranked fourth out of all countries in the health category, as HelpAge International recognized Canada's publicly funded health care system.

Canada drew a score of 82.9 out of 100 on income security, with 97.7 pension income coverage and a low poverty rate of 6.8 per cent.

HelpAge recognized Canadian programs such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), which provides non-taxable benefits for low income seniors.

In this area, it outshone the United States, as our southern neighbours registered income coverage of 92.5 per cent and a poverty rate of 18 per cent.

Globally, Canada came behind a slate of European countries: Switzerland came first, followed by Norway, Sweden and Germany.

But the rankings nevertheless provide better news for Canada than the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has recently.

Last month, the CMA reiterated a call for parties running in the election to adopt a national seniors strategy and offer more tax benefits for those who provide care for older relatives.

The association heard at a meeting that over 75 per cent of care for elderly Canadians is provided by unpaid caregivers, often family members.

CMA then-president Dr. Chris Simpson said a current tax credit for caregivers is only used by approximately three per cent of people who can claim it.