Helping seniors age-well. 18 BC communities are receiving funding for projects that focus on accessibility, aging well, physical activity and non-medical home supports. The longstanding age-friendly grant program has provided funding for close to three hundred projects in BC communities.
A housing study for First Nations Elders and developing social networks are among the projects benefiting seniors in the 18 B.C. communities receiving a total of $342,430 in age-friendly community planning and project grants this year.
“Seniors play an integral role in shaping our province and when we put supports in place that benefit older British Columbians, entire communities can benefit,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Age-friendly grants help seniors live better by helping them to stay involved, remain healthy, independent and maintain important local connections.”
The age-friendly communities grant program is a partnership between the Province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). In September 2016, local governments were invited to apply for grants of up to $20,000 and encouraged to consider projects that focused on accessibility, aging well, physical activity and non-medical home supports. Successful applicants are eligible to apply for a range of services to support their project from BC Healthy Communities Society.
“These grants are an example of how the Province supports seniors in remaining socially active as well as staying in touch with their communities,” said Darryl Plecas, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors. “Age-friendly grants help older British Columbians by improving quality of life through a variety of programs that range from programming on nutrition to making parks more accessible.”
Some examples of 2017 grants include: a seniors’ social program in the North Okanagan that will provide education and activities on a wide variety of topics including hearing loss, the importance of flu shots, and how to avoid scams; a seniors’ housing action plan in the Village of Lytton that will ensure facilities and services are in place within the community so that local seniors and First Nations Elders may remain close to their families as they age; and, improving dementia awareness in West Vancouver.
“This longstanding program has provided funding for close to three hundred projects in B.C. communities,” said Murry Krause, UBCM president. “We appreciate the continuing provincial support for local age-friendly initiatives.”
Since 2007, age-friendly communities grants have funded 286 projects throughout British Columbia, totalling $3.75 million.
More information about Age-friendly BC can be found by visiting: www.gov.bc.ca/agefriendly
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Health Communications250 952-1887 (media line)
Paul TaylorDirector of Communications Union of British Columbia Municipalities 250 893-8476 (media line)
The following communities have received 2017 age-friendly community planning and project grants:
Village of Burns Lake
Project: Seniors’ housing assessment
Details: This housing study is being planned for the Lakes District, which includes the Village of Burns Lake, six First Nations communities and six unincorporated communities. Within this area, there are 8,000 residents, 20% of whom are 55 and older – a percentage that is predicted to increase. This project will enhance the Village of Burns Lake’s efforts to retain current and emerging seniors in the community while improving their quality of life.
Project: Age-friendly community initiative
Details: An age-friendly action plan will be developed to identify specific mental, physical and social barriers in the existing community infrastructure. The goal is to achieve an understanding of how age-friendly Cache Creek is. The plan will also determine future actions to effectively respond to an aging population.
Capital Regional District (Greater Victoria)
Project: Community mapping project
Details: This project will engage multicultural older adults in developing an online map as a tool for service providers, caregivers and municipal/regional planners. The resource will help seniors navigate regional services and resources while increasing their comfort level with the Internet and computers.
Cowichan Valley Regional District (Mill Bay)
Project: Mill Bay age-friendly community
Details: Working with Island Health, the Cowichan Valley Regional District will do an age-friendly assessment to analyze the needs of Mill Bay seniors and develop an action plan to address those needs.
Project: Dementia support
Details: This project is designed to provide dementia support services for the town’s residents through the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors, which provides an opportunity for seniors to participate in community activities as well as physical and educational activities. Staff and volunteers will receive training to provide dementia support, develop social networks for seniors and caregivers, and help older adults cope with the challenges of aging and memory changes.
Village of Granisle
Project: Healthy Granisle
Details: Expanding on an earlier Healthy Granisle project, the village is developing both indoor and outdoor programming to help improve the overall health and well-being of its residents, including the local First Nations community of Tachet. The goal is to encourage increased participation in healthy community activities such as healthy cooking classes, Tai Chi, walking/hiking the local trails and learning how to use exercise equipment safely.
Project: Community assessment
Details: To support the Kelowna Community for All Action Plan includes an audit of local parks and city buildings, with a focus on accessibility, safety features and recreational amenities for all ages and abilities.
District of Kitimat
Project: Support of seniors
Details: An age-friendly plan will work to improve services for seniors. It will enhance the Better at Home program, and establish a resource that will help address social isolation, provide access to services such as food boxes and increase awareness on aging in place. The plan will also explore a partnership with the Elders of Kitimaat Village.
Village of Lytton
Project: Lytton seniors housing action plan
Details: The Village of Lytton received an age-friendly grant to support its seniors housing action plan. Through the action plan, the village will work to ensure that facilities and services are in place to properly serve the needs of the local seniors population, including First Nations Elders, so that seniors may remain close to their families as they age.
District of Mackenzie
Project: Seniors housing and health services assessment
Details: Responding to a demand for accessible housing for seniors, the Seniors Housing and Health Services Assessment will focus on community planning to increase the accessibility of housing and services for seniors. The health services component will explore the availability and uptake of services such as home care and assisted living options, as well as work with BC Housing to implement programs that can help seniors age in place.
Regional District of North Okanagan
Project: Cherryville seniors’ social and dinner hall
Details: This funding is for a seniors’ social program that will provide education and activities on a wide variety of topics including hearing loss and hearing aids, safety and avoiding scams, and flu shots. The program provides intergenerational social opportunities with elementary school students performing and assisting with events. This project will also assist with the replacement of appliances in the hall in order to accommodate increasing participation at seniors’ events.
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen
Project: Naramata age-friendly community planning project
Details: The Naramata Age-friendly Community Planning Project will focus on planning social and physical environments that promote healthy aging and support seniors to maintain social ties to the community, family and friends.
Project: Seniors Together Powell River
Details: Seniors Together Powell River is a half-day project once a month that starts with a healthy lunch and provides speakers on topics such as medical needs, physical activity and social opportunities. It will introduce seniors to services in the community, and provide activity programs that promote healthy living and social inclusion.
Project: Silverton age-friendly project
Details: The Silverton Age-friendly Project will develop workshops and social programming focused around food, nutrition and community food security. School groups will be invited to participate, as well as representatives from the community that work in food security, production and processing.
Project: Raising the profile for seniors’ provincial summit
Details: A provincially focused two-day summit will strengthen Surrey’s capacity to develop an effective and realistic seniors’ action plan for its residents using new ideas for programming, strategic partnerships and funding. Surrey is working with partners like the BC Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, United Way of the Lower Mainland and the Raising the Profile Project.
Project: Greater Vernon Community Garden age-friendly improvements and programming
Details: This two-part project will: develop new infrastructure to improve the accessibility for those with mobility challenges to one of the community’s largest urban community gardens, and develop new programming to engage more seniors in the gardens. A best-practices document will also be developed to guide upgrades to the other two community gardens in Vernon.
Project: Aging well in Wells community plan
Details: An age-friendly community plan will be created to identify the needs of older adults in the District of Wells. The plan’s development will include consultations with a diverse range of community members.
Project: Dementia-friendly North Shore action plan
Details: The City of North Vancouver and the Districts of North Vancouver and West Vancouver are working to create a Dementia Friendly North Shore Action Plan with residents and community partners. The goal is to improve dementia awareness and expand the current dementia-friendly North Shore committee to lead the process for the development and implementation of an action plan.