Manitoba Welcomes Age-Friendly Communities

by NationTalk on February 11, 20081279 Views

Manitoba News Release
February 11, 2008

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SafetyAid Program Expanded: Minister

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE—Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, minister responsible for seniors, launched the Age-Friendly Manitoba initiative here today at the Age-Friendly Manitoba summit that brought together communities involved in the initiative.”In a continued effort to address and support the changing needs of older Manitobans, the province is excited to launch the Age-Friendly Manitoba Initiative,” said Irvin-Ross. “By actively engaging and assisting municipalities, the initiative is designed to make Manitoba the most age-friendly province in Canada.”

Creating an age-friendly province begins at the local level where the community collectively determines the age-friendliness of their neighbourhoods and the issues and concerns of its older members, the minister said.

“It may be mobility issues such as uneven sidewalks, accessibility issues like heavy doors on public buildings or getting community groups to pool resources to create a social centre for seniors. An

age-friendly community enables older adults to age actively, but it also benefits people of all ages. Secure neighbourhoods are safe for children, youth, women and older adults. Barrier-free buildings and streets enhance the mobility and independence of both younger and older people with disabilities.”

Ten interested cities and towns across Manitoba have been selected to participate in the first round of the initiative and will each receive $2,000 in provincial funding to survey their needs and consult with local community groups. Twice a year, additional communities will be selected to join the initiative.

Information on the initiative is available from the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat or at www.manitoba.ca/agefriendly.

The minister also announced the expansion of the successful SafetyAid Crime Prevention for Older Manitobans program to Beausejour, Sagkeeng/Fort Alexander First Nation, Lac du Bonnet, Little Black River First Nation, Pinawa, Steinbach and Ste. Anne.

The SafetyAid program, delivered by Age & Opportunity, helps to support the continued independence of low-income seniors living in the community. Through SafetyAid, experienced tradespeople conduct home-safety and fall-prevention audits and install safety devices including peepholes and deadbolt locks, and provide fall-prevention supplies to the homes of low-income seniors.

More information about SafetyAid is available through Age & Opportunity at 1-888-333-1808.

The world’s population is rapidly aging and the development of age-friendly communities is a priority issue receiving global attention, said Irvin-Ross.

“In Manitoba, the number of people aged 65 years and older is expected to increase by 43 per cent over the next 20 years. With
93 per cent of Manitoban seniors living in the community, this increase will result in communities facing both opportunities and challenges in responding to this population’s needs and desires.”

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Backgrounder: Age-Friendly Initiative

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