From Kent to Surrey, four communities in the Fraser Valley 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 Kent, Langley, Maple Ridge and Surrey. The communities’ projects and plans include:
- a fitness-circuit project in Kent to help seniors stay active;
- an age-friendly business recognition pilot program, and the development and delivery of social programs at community gardens in Langley;
- a program to improve transportation for seniors in Maple Ridge; and
- a mobile community-care unit that will provide support services directly to seniors who are homeless or unsettled in Surrey.
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.