Manitoba Proclaims Age-Friendly Week June 4 to 8: Rondeau
The communities of Dunnottar, Pinawa, Springfield, Steinbach and The Pas were presented with Age-Friendly Community Milestone Awards by Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau today, as the province proclaimed June 4 to 8 Age-Friendly Week in Manitoba.
“Our Age-Friendly Manitoba Initiative is in its fifth year and there are now 85 communities committed to supporting seniors,” said Rondeau. “Today, we honour five Manitoba communities that are outstanding role models, inspiring other communities to follow in their footsteps.”
The province has worked closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other provinces to develop the milestones that define what it means to be an age-friendly community. Each of the award-winning communities have:
- established an advisory committee that includes the active engagement of older adults;
- secured a local municipal council resolution to actively support, promote and work towards becoming age-friendly;
- established a robust and concrete plan of action that includes a needs assessment developed with older adults;
- demonstrated a commitment to action by publicly posting the action plan; and
- committed to measuring activities, reviewing and reporting publicly on action plan outcomes.
“Communities throughout Manitoba that are part of the Age-Friendly Initiative have received tremendous value,” said Doug Dobrowolski, president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities. “Many positive changes are occurring at a local level that will improve the lives of citizens of all ages.”
“The Town of Pinawa has embraced the concept of creating an age-friendly community and we are honoured to receive this award today,” said Marsha Sheppard, chair of the Pinawa Age-Friendly committee. “In recognition of Age-Friendly Week, we have organized an intergenerational walk with our many community partners and we invite others to join in our celebration on Friday, June 8.”
Age-Friendly Manitoba is dedicated to making this province the most supportive in Canada, said Rondeau. Partners include the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, the University of Manitoba’s Centre on Aging and various senior organizations, community leaders and service providers.
Age-Friendly Week celebrates the importance of supporting seniors in leading active, socially engaged, independent lives that contribute to healthy aging and create environments that enhance quality of life for all Manitobans.
More than 80 per cent of Manitobans live in communities that are supportive of seniors. The Age‑Friendly Initiative is based on work done by the World Health Organization. Manitoba is seen as a world leader in creating supportive communities for older adults, the minister said.
The Village of Dunnottar
In 2009, the Village of Dunnottar established a subgroup of council to lead its age-friendly work. The committee now has 11 members, six of whom are older adults. The committee has been very successful in building partnerships that demonstrate the ability to engage surrounding communities, resource centres and organizations to achieve their goals. It has also been successful at communicating with the community through email, Facebook, websites, brochures, direct mail and local media.
The Pas Age-Friendly Committee was established in March 2008. Since then, it has worked hard to develop many age-friendly initiatives that benefit The Pas and surrounding areas including the Rural Municipality of Kelsey and the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Highlights include a very successful Age-Friendly Awareness Day, development and distribution of a Senior Rocks School Awareness Activity Package that promotes positive images of aging and strengthens the relationship between older adults and children from kindergarten to Grade 6, and the development of large‑print phone books recently distributed to all seniors’ residences.
The Pinawa Age-Friendly Committee has been busy moving toward an age-friendlier Pinawa since 2008. Having a hard-working team and unique partnerships has led to many successes including safer routes to school, friendly walking and cycle paths, signage for accessible entrances, grocery, deli and pharmacy delivery, affordable transportation, congregate meals, easier access to public buildings, affordable housing, helping businesses to become age-friendly and a successful adult/student pen-pal program.
The Rural Municipality (RM) of Springfield
The RM of Springfield has embraced the Age-Friendly initiative and has been very creative in the way it has completed many projects and worked with community partners to achieve its goals. The Springfield Age-Friendly grant program is one of the unique and creative projects developed to encourage community partners in becoming more age-friendly. The Age‑Friendly Business and Public Building Checklist was also developed to encourage the business community to become more accessible. Community partners and businesses that take measures to become more age-friendly are awarded with an age-friendly certificate.
Steinbach’s Age-Friendly Community Council consists of 10 community members including a city councillor. It has made great strides in a short time by focusing on two of the World Health Organization’s eight age-friendly dimensions each year. Issues that have been successfully reviewed include sidewalks, traffic lights, outdoor space needs, intergenerational opportunities, transportation options and seniors’ housing.
To make this initiative possible, Manitoba has partnered with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, seniors organizations, and the University of Manitoba’s Centre on Aging. Other partners include community leaders, faith leaders, service providers and public officials.
The Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat is also partners with the Centre on Aging’s Age-Friendly Communities: Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) project. Age-Friendly Communities: CURA is a 5-year program of research that is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada under its Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) funding program. For more information on the Age-Friendly Communities-CURA visit: www.umanitoba.ca/centres/aging/cura/index.html