VICTORIA - Minister of State for Seniors Ralph Sultan today announced additional funding for Age-friendly BC communities for 2013, supporting seniors around British Columbia.
This year, $500,000 will be available for the program with grants of up to $20,000 for planning or projects focused on creating more age-friendly communities.
This follows Premier Christy Clark's announcement in September 2011, launching the program in partnership with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, to help local governments create environments for seniors to be active and stay healthy.
In February 2012, Age-friendly BC and the Union of BC Municipalities awarded grants to 52 local governments. New applications will be available shortly and grants will be awarded in 2013.
Municipalities and regional districts can be recognized as Age-friendly once they have completed four basic steps that focus on community engagement, commitment, assessment and action.
To date, more than 100 B.C. communities have completed some form of age-friendly endeavour, ranging from setting public policy to making physical improvements to addressing the needs of older residents. These include installing fitness equipment or benches, increasing garden and green space, and making services more accessible to seniors. These projects and programs also contribute to improving safety and security for seniors and enhancing their connection to their communities.
Ralph Sultan, Minister of State for Seniors -
"Seniors contribute to our communities in many ways, and Age-friendly BC is a great way for local governments to get funding to support older residents in continuing to play a valuable role in society."
Heath Slee, president, Union of British Columbia Municipalities -
"This provincially funded program has been well received by our members, particularly smaller communities. The practical improvements funded through the program will help provide even more age-friendly facilities in BC communities."
- 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 and local champions to help create a more 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 B.C. Seniors' Guide contains information on a range of topics including transportation options, housing, health services and healthy living. It is available in Chinese, Punjabi and French translations and includes telephone numbers and website information for frequently used resources.
For more information on Age-friendly BC, please visit: www.seniorsbc.ca/agefriendly/
For general information on seniors and seniors' services, visit: www.seniorsbc.ca
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)