What is “Age-Friendly”? How do you fit in?

On November 7, 2013, the Niagara Age-Friendly Community Network hosted a Webinar to share ideas about seeing Niagara through an Age-Friendly lens. We all benefit, and our community and economy are more vibrant when we overcome aging stereotypes. Age-Friendly means working together to build supportive physical and social environments that enable all community members to live active, safe, meaningful lives and contribute in all areas of community life.

Over one hundred Niagara citizens have joined the Network, to learn, take action on and champion Age-Friendly planning in Niagara. This includes building awareness of World Health Organization (WHO) Age-Friendly principles. By working toward having these principles intersect with all 12 Living in Niagara Sectors, we can make Niagara a “community for all ages”.

The Network grew out of the Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative, a 3-year project led by several community partners, and supported by Ontario Trillium Foundation funding. Information resources from the University of Waterloo helped to inform our work: afc.uwaterloo.ca

From 2010 to early 2013, our partners made presentations to local municipal councils; focus groups with citizens were held in all 12 areas of Niagara; and Local Age-Friendly Action Committees were formed. Examples of actions completed include: municipalities committed to larger font sizes on road signs; additional park benches installed along walking paths; local municipalities joining the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities Network; and creation of a proposal to build a community-driven Aging Strategy & Action Plan for Niagara. More details are available in the Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative Year 3 Evaluation Report

Creating an Age-Friendly community requires ongoing conversations and continuous exchange about ways Age-Friendly principles can help us collectively create environments for citizens of all ages to live well and contribute to community life. The Network is committed to enabling this conversation. Click here to join the Network and be on the distribution list for the latest in Niagara Age-Friendly developments.

On November 7th from 12:00 – 1:00 PM, the Network was joined by Dr. Paula Gardner, health researcher and gerontologist from Brock University, to continue this conversation during a webinar entitled: Through an Age-Friendly Lens: Planning for an Inclusive and Economically Vibrant Niagara. Click here to view a recording of this event.

Dominic Ventresca
Co-Chair, Niagara Age-Friendly Community Network
d.ventresca@sympatico.ca

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