Age-Friendly Brandon has wrapped up its public consultations and will soon make recommendations to city council on how to enhance the community for seniors.
The goal of the six-week initiative was to get feedback on what policies, programs and services would make it easier for seniors to stay active and healthy.
“We’ve administered over 150 different surveys, so at this stage what we’re doing is compiling the raw data,” said Richard Greer, community development co-ordinator with the City of Brandon. “From that, hopefully we can identify some trends or some general issues that we need to address.”
The consultations took place at various community and senior centres in October and November. Surveys were also handed out to those that couldn’t make it to the meeting.
“We wanted to be able to kind of access some of the seniors that can’t get out,” Greer said. “We wanted to hear what they had to say, which is a tough group to try to connect with.”
The organizers connected with Meals on Wheels, who delivered the survey on their behalf.
“It was kind of a good way to connect with some of those seniors that maybe don’t get out, that aren’t as active,” he said.
The initiative was developed by fourth-year nursing students John Dempster and Cass Chisholm, along with the city’s community services department.
Since the World Health Organization developed the Age-Friendly model in 2007, cities across Canada have been working with seniors to develop plans to enhance communities.
Some examples of what cities have done to become more age-friendly include improving sidewalks, walking trails and curbs; adding benches, installing automatic doors and ramps to increase accessibility, establishing more handicap parking spaces and adding crosswalks.
Greer said by the year 2030, it’s anticipated that there will be more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 15.
“I think it’s really important that we get out ahead of this now, so that we can basically steer ourselves, so when that era hits and the bulk of the seniors are here, we’re prepared for it,” Greer said. “(So) we have a community that works for seniors that can stay in their home longer, that can contribute to society, that can lead healthy, meaningful lives, that can be socially active.”
Age-Friendly Brandon will make recommendations to the city at the Dec. 3 council meeting.