In an effort to be more inclusive, Durham Region has developed and released an age-friendly community strategy and action plan.
According to the Region, approximately 25 per cent of Durham Region residents are considered “older adults”, meaning 55 and older, and that percentage is expected to increase to 34 per cent by 2031. The intention of the Age-Friendly Durham Strategy and Action plan is to establish a common vision for the region as a community that values, respects and supports the well-being of all residents, regardless of age or ability.
“Durham’s aging demographic creates opportunities for innovative planning, service delivery and public engagement,” said Regional Chair Roger Anderson in a July release.
“Together, our goal is to make Durham a community where all residents feel included, respected, and enjoy a high quality of life.”
Garry Cubitt, Chief Administrative Officer, says the Region is committed to ensuring older adults – classified as individuals 55 and older – are actively engaged in all aspects of social and civic life. He says the strategy and action plan will help guide the direction of Regional services over the next five years.
“The recommendations that follow provide a road map to guide the Region, and also inform the work of other community stakeholders, to help ensure that decision-making reflects and responds to the needs and lived experience of older adults,” reads the Action Plan’s Executive Summary, in part.
“Timing of actions will ultimately be determined by Regional departments, or by those stakeholders who may be involved with the implementation of specific recommendations. Certain actions may also change or evolve based on further discussion with Regional staff, area municipalities, and other community partners.”
Recommendations in the plan include actions to enhance the accessibility of public spaces, buildings and local businesses, improving the safety and connectivity of outdoor spaces, improve access to information regarding housing options and supports, and enhance social opportunities for older adults across the age and ability spectrum.
A complete explanation of all objectives and recommended actions can be found in the Age Friendly Durham Strategy.
Furthermore, the release from the Region says the strategy and action plan lay the foundation for a co-ordinated approach among the Region, the eight area municipalities, and the community in order to plan for Durham’s older adult population. The strategy and action plan are the products of a collaborative effort, involving community stakeholders and input from more than 1,700 individuals and 20 community organizations.
The consultation process for the strategy and action plan included focus groups, a survey, municipal round-table discussion and a community forum.
To view the strategy and action plan, along with the interactive Age-Friendly map, designed to help residents locate seniors’ services, community facilities and programs, visit www.durham.ca/AgeFriendly.