Kipling and district, Moose Jaw, and Regina were recognized on Nov. 22 by the Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism (SSM) for their work to be more inclusive of seniors and older adults.
The efforts of these communities include:
- Establishing an Age-Friendly Committee
- Securing support at the municipal government level
- Assessing the community to determine where age-friendliness initiatives are needed
- Developing, publicizing, and implementing an action plan
“I congratulate the recipients of today’s Age-Friendly recognition on their efforts to consider the needs of seniors and older adults, and how their communities can play a role in enhancing their quality of life,” said Everett Hindley, minister of seniors. “Our government supports the Age-Friendly Communities initiative, which promotes healthy, accessible, and inclusive communities, where everyone is valued and supported.”
An age-friendly community is designed to enable all residents to live safely, enjoy good health, and stay involved. Measures that increase accessibility and inclusivity for older adults and seniors include keeping sidewalks well-maintained and well lit, supporting accessible services, buildings with automatic doors and elevators, and having a variety of programs for seniors, such as arts and cultural activities, volunteering, or courses.
“The recognition was very nice, because we had done a lot of work to get there,” said Christine Boyczuk, chair of Moose Jaw’s Age-Friendly Committee.
Boyczuk received the award on behalf of the community alongside committee co-chair Gillian Froehlich.
“For example,” Boyczuk continued, “we had to have our community plan in place, we had to meet with the city and have their recognition first … there were a number of steps.
“Now we can move forward, because in order for us to do a lot of projects, we did need that recognition. In particular, we’re working on home support, or ‘aging in place.’ And the recognition gives us credibility, along with other communities who are working on that as well.”
The importance of helping seniors age in place is growing as care homes and hospitals feel the impacts of a strained healthcare system. Aging in place means seniors have the support and knowledge they need to live in their own homes for as long as possible.
“Fifteen communities in this province are part of the Age-Friendly movement,” said Doug Still, SSM board member and chair of the Age-Friendly Saskatchewan Committee. “Together, their combined populations represent over half a million people in a variety of locations ranging from rural municipalities and towns, to our two largest cities. These communities are committed to looking at community development by and with older adults, knowing that age-friendly means all-ages friendly where everyone benefits.”
For more information on the Age-Friendly Communities Recognition Program, including the application process, visit the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism website at skseniorsmechanism.ca/ or the Age-Friendly Saskatchewan website at www.agefriendlysk.ca.