"Older people living active, socially engaged, and independent lives are the hallmarks of an age-friendly British Columbia. 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," said Sultan.
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
The nine communities will each receive an Age-friendly BC award poster and a $1,000 award to create a legacy project or a celebration and will be highlighted on the SeniorsBC.ca website.
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.
"The cornerstone of the Age-friendly BC Recognition program is healthy, thriving and resilient communities. We share this vision, and that's why we're proud to support the Age-friendly BC Recognition awards to improve community engagement and accessibility," said Jodi Mucha, BC Healthy Communities' executive director.
More than 100 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.
- 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 right across 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.
Looking for general information on seniors and seniors' services? Visit: www.seniorsbc.ca
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)