From Powell River to West Vancouver, four communities in the Vancouver Coastal Health region are receiving age-friendly grants to support British Columbia seniors, so they can live active, safe, socially engaged and independent lives.
“Seniors spent their lives building our communities — it’s important that they are included in them as they age,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “When we make communities age friendly, we make them more accessible for everyone.”
Approximately $587,000 in age-friendly grants are being provided to B.C. communities in 2018.
“We know that seniors who stay socially connected and active in the community live longer, healthier lives,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors Anne Kang. “I encourage our communities to keep up the great work they’re doing to develop sustainable projects that support seniors in being connected to the people and activities they love.”
Grants will be distributed to Powell River, Richmond, Sechelt and West Vancouver. The communities’ projects and plans include:
- support for the Powell River Seniors Coalition in addressing the key priority areas outlined in their age-friendly community plan;
- the development of a dementia-friendly community action plan in Richmond;
- support for age-friendly trail networks, parks, neighbourhoods and other amenities in Sechelt and other communities on the Sunshine Coast; and
- the implementation of West Vancouver’s dementia-friendly action plan.
The 2018 age-friendly grants will be distributed to 34 communities throughout B.C., almost double the number that received grants in 2017. This includes 12 communities that will receive grants of up to $25,000 for age-friendly assessments and action plans, and up to $15,000 awarded to 22 communities in support of age-friendly projects.
Communities that have completed steps towards becoming age-friendly can be officially recognized by the Province as an age-friendly British Columbia community. In 2017, Abbotsford, Keremeos, Salmo, Sicamous, Smithers and Tofino were officially recognized as age-friendly for their work in making their communities more accessible and inclusive for older adults.
The age-friendly communities grant program is a partnership between the Province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. In September 2017, local governments were invited to apply for grants 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 from BC Healthy Communities Society to support their project.
More information about age-friendly B.C. can be found by visiting: http://www.gov.bc.ca/agefriendly
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Health Communications250 952-1887 (media line)
Project: Seniors for Seniors: Powell River seniors coalition
Details: The Seniors for Seniors Action Table will meet to discuss local barriers to age-friendly communities, plan and implement initiatives, and advocate for policies and programs in their neighbourhoods. Several engagement meetings will identify champions in the community to join the table, which will work closely with the City of Powell River to advocate on behalf of seniors, and assist in addressing the key priority areas outlined in the age-friendly community plan.
Project: Dementia-friendly community action plan
Details: Richmond’s dementia-friendly community action plan will ensure that those living with dementia, their families and caregivers, as well as all Richmond residents feel supported and connected in their communities. This will include creating access to tools and resources to help them age in place independently, safely and with a better sense of inclusion and belonging. The plan builds on Richmond’s 2015 recognition as an age-friendly community.
Project: Age-friendly trails guide
Details: The District of Sechelt, Sunshine Coast Reginal District and Town of Gibsons will partner on an age-friendly/accessible trails guide, which will identify existing, accessible trail networks and user-friendly accesses to parks, neighbourhoods and other amenities on the Sunshine Coast. The guide will highlight trails that are welcoming to all ages, and people with diverse levels of mobility and endurance. The project builds on Sechelt’s 2012 recognition as an age-friendly community.
Project: Dementia-friendly action plan implementation
Details: The District of West Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver are implementing the action plan that they collaborated on in 2017. The project will educate staff, elected officials and the residents of the three North Shore communities about dementia, and how they can facilitate greater independence and a higher quality of life for people living with and at-risk of dementia. The plan will also support the development of dementia-friendly educational materials that can be adapted and shared with other communities. The project builds on West Vancouver’s 2012 recognition as an age-friendly community.