From Ladysmith to Saanich, four communities in the Vancouver Island 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 Capital Regional District, Ladysmith, Metchosin and Saanich. The communities’ projects and plans include:
- improved public transportation for seniors on Pender Island;
- a project to make Ladysmith more walkable and accessible to seniors;
- increased communication and awareness of emergency preparedness and assistance for Metchosin’s seniors; and
- a new social club for seniors in Saanich.
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: Age-friendly Ladysmith: walkability/accessibility
Details: This project recognizes the challenging landscape of Ladysmith, the limited transportation and transit services, and the fact that the percentage of the population that is 65 and older is higher than the B.C. average. Proposed activities include a scooter map to identify the safest routes to access key public locations, such as health and retail services, as well as the installation of a bench and railings by the drugstore. Businesses will also complete an age-friendly assessment.
Project: Age-friendly engagement project
Details: Increasing communication and awareness of emergency preparedness and assistance for Metchosin’s 2,000 older adults is the main focus of this project. Enhancing the district’s emergency reception centre/warming centre with accessible options will ensure that individual needs of the community’s seniors are met during emergency situations. The project builds on Metchosin’s 2012 recognition as an age-friendly community.
Capital Regional District
Project: Pender Island community bus
Details: A recent study on the quality of life of seniors on Pender Island recommended improving public transit for older adults who no longer can, or wish to, drive. This project, undertaken by Moving Around Pender, will engage seniors and seniors’ organizations to identify how a reliable community bus service can promote greater participation by seniors in community activities; support seniors to access local goods and services; and facilitate seniors aging in place on the island.
Project: Cedar Hill Social Club
Details: A new, vibrant social club will combine two existing clubs, one of which was experiencing diminishing membership, and neither was financially sustainable. It will provide an opportunity for many to enjoy the benefits of expanded social, cultural and physical activity programs. The Cedar Hill Social Club will be located within a recreation centre, and the district hopes to grow the membership in order for it to become self-sustaining. The project builds on Saanich’s 2012 recognition as an age-friendly community.