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.
Ministry of Health Communications250 952-1887 (media line)
Project: Centennial park fitness circuit
Details: With a growing aging population, the District of Kent recognizes the importance of keeping seniors physically active and engaged in their communities. The fitness-circuit project is an opportunity to create an age-friendly, low-barrier physical activity venue, which helps seniors enhance their health and well-being and increase their social interaction.
Project: Age-friendly strategy implementation projects
Details: The township has two age-friendly projects in development: an age-friendly business-recognition pilot program, including dementia-friendly training for local businesses; and the development and delivery of social programs at community gardens throughout the township, including the installation of new garden plots in Yorkson Community park. The project builds on the Township of Langley’s 2015 recognition as an age-friendly community.
Project: On the Move: seniors transportation initiative
Details: Focusing on increasing community accessibility and improving social participation for older adults, this project will combine research on designing an effective transportation system, training for volunteer drivers and promotion of the initiative to relevant community organizations. It will create a plan for a community bus co-operative that engages seniors and will help provide them with recreation and healthy living activities. The project builds on Maple Ridge’s 2016 recognition as an age-friendly community.
Project: Mobile Community Care for Seniors
The Mobile Community Care for Seniors will provide basic support resources to the aging population, who are unhoused or unsettled due to various circumstances. The goals of the Mobile Community Care for Seniors are to support seniors in finding a home, ensure they have access to basic needs, and that they remain engaged and independent in their community. This project builds on Surrey’s 2012 recognition as an age-friendly community, and supports the City of Surrey age friendly strategy framework.