Why plan through an Age-Friendly lens?
- People of all ages in Niagara want to live purposeful lives, and be connected to their community. Age-friendly planning benefits everyone. By addressing safety and accessibility for older adults, we create more inclusive and accessible communities for people of all ages. Many of today’s older adults are focused on longevity and living well. For many this means living in their own home as long as they can, and for some, seizing opportunities to pursue second or third careers.
- 2016 census data show that just over 21% of Niagara’s population is over 65 years of age; this will double by 2031. In Canada, there are now more people aged 65 or older than children under 14, more people leaving the workforce than entering it and more deaths than births.
- Older adults contribute greatly to our community and economy; it’s in everyone’s interest to include them and keep them connected.
- The increase in the number of older adults presents the opportunity to address issues around access to appropriate, affordable housing options; and transportation options to enable access to health and human services as well as strengthened social connections with friends, family and community.
- As seen in the Minister of Seniors’ Affairs mandate letter, the province of Ontario has identified age-friendly communities as a key priority. The Ministry of Seniors Affairs (previously the Ontario Seniors Secretariat) has funded a series of community-level age-friendly planning and seniors programming grants, as well as a provincial age-friendly outreach initiative. Age-Friendly communities are endorsed by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
Framework for Developing an Age-Friendly Community
VISION: A caring community that optimizes opportunities for overall well-being to enhance quality of life as people age.
Principles of Age-Friendly Communities:
1. Respect and Support of All Citizens:
Recognizes that all citizens are vital members of a community and have the right to self-determination, to fully engage in life across the life span, and to be treated with dignity and respect.
Promotes and recognizes that health and well-being include the built environment, public spaces, community identity, and choices in transportation, housing options and other social programs.
3. Community Engagement in Decision Making:
Values relationships that actively include older adults in all aspects of decision making and program development relevant to them. It is based upon mutual respect and inclusion of multiple, diverse and equally valuable perspectives and experiences.
4. Access and Inclusion for All:
Responds to the needs of all citizens ensuring fair access to flexible resources and responds to the needs across the life span.
Demonstrates that the delivery of these programs, services and the overall planning of communities respects these principles – it is effective, efficient and considers the voices of all citizens.