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Age-Friendly Action Plan

The City of Merritt has released an Age-Friendly Plan. An Age-Friendly Merritt can respond to the needs of an aging population in terms of housing, health care, accessibility and communty services, and can provide a healthy attractive, safe environment for seniors. The plan was a culmination of over a year of analysis and included comprehensive community engagement. The details of these efforts are contained in the plan. The overarching vision of the plan is:

“Our vision for Merritt is to be an age-friendly community in which residents of all ages, cultures and backgrounds feel welcomed and recognized for their contributions to the City and are encouraged to lead active, safe and enriched lives. The City of Merritt will ensure that the community remains an Age-friendly place to live by continuing to nurture strong social connections; foster inter-generational inclusion and respect; ensure safe and accessible environments; and expand important programs and services for older adults.”   Read the full plan here:  Click here.

December, 2015 Vision Statement.  Click here.
 
On October 15th there was a Vision and Direction meeting with the Advisory Group to refine the scope of the Age-friendly Plan currently being developed for Merritt. The following is a summary of that Advisory Group meeting.  Click here for summary.
 
On September 23rd there was a Community Open House to share and discuss the Age-friendly Plan currently being developed for Merritt. The following is a summary of that Open House.  Click here for summary.
 
Discussion panel for Age-Friendly Action Plan click here.
 
You are invited! Please join us for an open house to learn more about the City’s new Age-Friendly Action Plan and provide feedback on what being ‘age-friendly’ means to you.
 
Where and When:
- Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
- Location: Civic Centre 
- Time: 4:00pm-7:00pm
 
 
 
On June 23rd an Age-friendly seniors focus group meeting was held at the Merritt Seniors Centre. See the Focus Group meeting minutes here: click here for details.
 
The Age-friendly Survey is now closed.  Thank you for your participation.  
 
Merritt Age-Friendly Action Plan Focus Group

The City of Merritt is seeking community service professionals (health care, law enforcement, public transit, education, social services, financial services, etc.) to participate in the Merritt Age-Friendly Action Plan Focus Group to assist in the background development phase of Merritt’s-Age Friendly project.

This opportunity has great potential to address Merritt’s physical and socially accessible challenges.  With your input, the plan will bring together a stronger community and improve the quality of life for Merritt’s aging population.  

The Focus Group Session will be held at the Merritt Senior Citizens Association on Thursday July 23, 2015 at 2202 Jackson Ave, Merritt, BC from 2pm to 4pm.

If you are interested in participating in this 2-hour event, please call Sean O’Flaherty at 250-378-8620 or email: soflaherty@merritt.ca and express you interest.

 

The Age-Friendly Plan surey is ready.  Please fill it in and help us determine what's important to Merrittonians!

Click here to complete the survey.

Age-friendly Action Plan Update!

The Age-Friendly Plan Advisory Group had their kick-off meeting June 3rd at the Civic Centre. Movement on this important community plan is in full progress.

See the meeting minutes here:

We would like you to participate.  Click here to see the checklist of essential features of an Age-friendly Merritt that the Advisory Group was tasked with completing.  If you are interested, please complete one yourself and turn it in to City Hall.

Click here to view the agenda from the kick-off meeting held June 3rd.

Stay tuned for more updates.

 

    The initial concept of an Age-friendly city project was developed by the World Health Organization in 2005. It is widely acknowledged that the world’s population is getting older.  Increased life expectancy and the vast numbers of people who comprise the Baby Boomer generation are two of the primary reasons.  As people age and their needs change, communities, in order to remain desirable places to live, must change along with us.

The World Health Organization conducted a study of 33 cities in 22 countries and asked focus groups of older citizens to “describe the advantages and barriers they experience in eight areas of city living” (WHO, 2007). In 2007, the results of this survey were compiled into a document entitled Global Age-friendly Cities: A Guide. In addition to the guide, the World Health Organization created a Checklist of Essential Features of Age-friendly Cities. The checklist is meant to be used by cities as a standard against what a city can measure its age-friendliness across eight domains of city life with the hope that survey results will be used to create improvement plans.

In an effort to effectively respond to Merritt’s aging population, the City of Merritt is embarking on a project to complete an Age Friendly Action Plan.

Q. What is an age-friendly city?
A. The World Health Organization defines an age-friendly city as one that encourages active aging by optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age (WHO, 2007). What that means, is that all older people, regardless of ability, need or capacity, should not only be included in all aspects of community life but be recognized for the valuable contribution they make.

Q. Is Merritt age-friendly?
A. Although Merritt has many of the characteristics of an age-friendly city according to the World Health Organization‟s Checklist of Essential Features of an Age-friendly City, no city can be deemed truly age-friendly. The reason for this is because age-friendliness is not a destination or an end state. It is a process of continual improvement. So, although Marritt cannot be designated an age-friendly city, it will continually work towards the enhancement of its age-friendliness and is awaiting designation as a member of the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Communities, a network of like-minded cities in support of each other.

Q. At what age is someone considered an “older adult”?
A. Many organizations are required to choose a defined age at which they consider one an older adult. This age can be based on many factors. However, Merritt’s Age-friendly project seeks to be inclusive of people of ALL ages and has no need to define specific chronological age to designate older adulthood. The survey conducted as part of this project will ask participants to state their age within given ranges and will not limit people over a certain age.

Q. “Older adult” vs. “Senior”?
A.
Everyone seems to have a different opinion on the most appropriate way to refer to a person in the second half of life. Golden Ager, Senior, Elder, Older adult, Mature, Boomer, etc. are all examples. The project will not choose sides and the language used will generally alternate between older adult, aging adult, and mature adult.

Q. Why focus on older adults? Why not parents with young children, people living with disabilities or another group?
A.
As a person ages, they are more likely to experience health changes and physical limitations that present challenges to their enjoyment and full engagement within their community. As such, they are more likely to be excluded from full participation. A city who meets the criteria set out in the WHO Checklist, while focusing on the barriers experienced by many older adults, will also be friendly to those of any age.

For example, the Checklist advocates for pavements that are non-slip, are wide enough for wheelchairs and have dropped curbs to road levels . Older adults who use assistive devices to get around will benefit from this change. As well, a teenager with disabilities or a young mother pushing a stroller with small children in tow, will also benefit from the extra space afforded on streets and sidewalks.

Q. What is the purpose of this report?
A.
Merritt’s age-friendly plan is meant to be a bottom-up approach to enhancing the age-friendliness of our city. It starts with people and ends with decision-makers. We recognize that Merritt has many age-friendly assets but that every city has opportunities for improvement. By way of this project, Merritt residents have begun sharing their opinion with us and the feedback acts as a conduit to assist in making that opinion known to whoever desires it.  While we know our City administration is interested in the results so it can develop the Action Plan, other groups, agencies, businesses and organizations will also have interest in the information as it helps better inform their operations.

Q. Who will use this Action Plan?
A.
The opportunities for improvement listed throughout the final Action Plan are meant to be used by City officials and Community partners alike. Stakeholders and decision-makers within city administration and within various departments may use the Action Plan to help inform their decisions. Additionally, community agencies, businesses and groups may use it to make age-friendly improvements to their work. Non-profit groups may use it as support for grant applications. Members of the general public may use it to engage in age-friendly grass-roots endeavors.

Q. What will the Age-Friendly Action Plan look like?
A.
Each community that undertakes an Age-Friendly Action Plan has their own set of goals and objectives.  However, the content within the following three age-friendly action plan is a good example of what Merritt’s Age-Friendly Action Plan may include.

Creston, BC:
 
Village of Nakusp, BC:
 
City of Vancouver, BC:
 
 
Q. I’m interested!  How do I get involved and participate?
A. The City will be coordinating multiple involvement opportunities for residents and community groups to participate.  The two primary participation events include an online survey in addition to a community open house.  Details about these opportunities will be advertised by the City of Merritt through various means including, but not limited to:
 

 City website
 Newspaper
 Radio
 Poster bulletin
 Postcard mail out

Please read the Merritt Herald article here.

Click here to listen to February 13 CBC News podcast.