VICTORIA - Nine local governments will receive Age-friendly BC Recognition for their efforts to support older residents to remain healthy and active in the community.
To achieve recognition, the communities committed to age-friendly improvements in local government resolutions, established advisory committees, conducted age-friendly assessments and developed and published action plans - all with the leadership and involvement of local seniors. Duncan, Esquimalt, Metchosin, Saanich, Revelstoke, West Vancouver, Surrey, Sechelt, and White Rock have successfully completed these steps.
British Columbia's Age-friendly Recognition program is based on the Public Health Agency of Canada's Pan-Canadian Age-friendly Community Recognition Initiative. Many of the accomplishments of the recognized communities can be seen in recently released age-friendly videos, available at: www.seniorsbc.ca/agefriendly/afbc_video/
The nine communities will each receive an Age-friendly BC award poster and a $1,000 grant to create a legacy project or a celebration, and will be highlighted on the website: www.SeniorsBC.ca
The Age-friendly BC program focuses on providing communities with support, information and recognition to help meet the needs of an aging population. In September 2011, Premier Christy Clark announced the launch of the renewal of the Age-friendly BC strategy, with planning and project grants, tools and the recognition program. In February 2012, Age-friendly BC and the Union of BC Municipalities awarded grants to 52 local governments.
More than 120 B.C. communities have completed some form of age-friendly initiative to date, ranging from setting public policy to making physical improvements to address the needs of older residents.
Michael de Jong, Minister of Health -
"Through Age-friendly BC, we're helping B.C. to be a national leader in creating an inclusive, accessible province and I'm proud our communities are taking on this excellent initiative."
Ron Cantelon, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health -
"In an age-friendly British Columbia, older people are supported to live active, socially engaged, independent lives. These recognition awards celebrate the commitment these communities have made to achieve a vision where people of all ages and abilities feel included and valued in their communities."
Jodi Mucha, executive director, BC Healthy Communities -
"Our shared vision is healthy, thriving and resilient communities. That's why we're proud to support the Age-friendly BC Recognition awards to improve community engagement and accessibility."
- By 2031, close to 1.5 million British Columbians, or almost a quarter of the province's population, will be over 65.
- Since 2007, the Ministry of Health has supported communities throughout B.C. by providing tools to help them respond to an aging population:
- In June 2011, B.C., in partnership with the BC Chamber of Commerce, launched a guide for businesses to address the needs of older customers and employees entitled, Creating an Age-friendly Business in B.C.
- In September 2011, B.C. launched 'Becoming an Age-friendly Community: Local Government Guide', a new tool for local governments, community organizations or local champions to help them create an age-friendly community.
- B.C. has 18 BC Seniors Community Parks - located throughout the province - that are designed to help older adults stay mobile, physically active and healthy in their communities.
- The easy-to-read B.C. Seniors' Guide contains information on a range of topics including transportation options, housing, health services and healthy living. It is also available in Chinese, Punjabi and French translations and includes telephone numbers and website information for frequently used resources.
- The B.C. government has invested, in partnership with the United Way of the Lower Mainland, in the expansion of non-medical home support services in up to 65 communities throughout the province over the next three years, to help seniors age in place. These expansions include transportation, housekeeping, home repair, yard maintenance, friendly visiting and information to help seniors remain independent longer.
For more information on Age-friendly BC, please visit: www.seniorsbc.ca/agefriendly/
Want to know how to make your business more accessible to seniors? The guide, Creating an Age-friendly Business in B.C., is available at any BC Chamber of Commerce or online at: www.seniorsbc.ca/agefriendly/businesses/becoming_agefriendly.html
Looking for general information on seniors and seniors' services? Visit: www.seniorsbc.ca
Ministry of Health