From the Blenheim and Community Seniors’ Centre on March 25th, the Chatham-Kent Senior Advisory Committee unveiled plans to make communities throughout the Municipality more Age Friendly.
Age Friendly planning is an initiative of the World Health Organization that helps communities become more inclusive, accessible and respectful of the aging population.
To this end, the Senior Advisory Committee is launching Age Friendly Chatham-Kent. The first step in this ambitious project is to have a conversation with community residents. From April through October of this year, anyone over the age of 50 is encouraged to participate by completing a comprehensive survey or attending focus groups to share opinions and experiences on a variety of Age Friendly topics.
Senior Advisory Committee member, Councillor Karen Herman notes, “Creating an Age Friendly Action Plan will enable Municipal Council to set strategic goals for the present and future needs of our older populations. We want to ensure Chatham-Kent is a place where all residents can enjoy life at every age.”
Becoming an Age Friendly is imperative for community health and prosperity! In 1950 around 6% of Ontario’s population, or roughly one in twenty people, was over the age of 65. Today, it is 14% and is anticipated to rise sharply over the next 20 years. Here in Chatham-Kent, our population is older than the provincial average. It is predicted that 28% of our population in 2030 will be 65 or older. That is a shift of one in every twenty people to one in four. Therefore it is very important communities are strategically designed to accommodate an older population. How we respond to this unprecedented shift in the way live and age will be one of the great challenges of the 21st century.
The Age Friendly survey will be available on-line at the Senior Advisory Committee’s new website, www.ckseniors.ca, or in print at any Municipal service centre, any Chatham-Kent library branch, any of the 11 adult activity centres in the Municipality or simply by calling 519-354-8103.
To find out when a focus group will be coming to your community, and to register to participate in the focus group, visit www.ckseniors.ca or call 519-354-8103. All events will be advertised in advance in local media.