Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff is an advocate for age-friendly municipalities and shared her knowledge in a recent conference hosted virtually by the International Federation of Ageing.
The Age-friendly Cities and Communities Summit brought together knowledgeable individuals from across North America to discuss the promotion of the wellbeing, connection and safety of older adult populations.
Brownoff highlighted the continual need to thoughtfully prioritize existing plans for infrastructure and development in Saanich, as well as ensure that older adults have social connections.
Informing policy through engineering designs, such as crosswalks that allow enough time for seniors to cross busy roads, as well as prioritization of mental health, are some of Brownoff’s key focuses. Such focus is similarly outlined by the World Health Organization’s stance on age-friendliness.
“I spoke on Saanich’s goal to ensure our community is one for all ages and abilities – everything that our departments do have an age-friendly component,” Brownoff said.
Saanich staff are working to make sure healthy lifestyle choices are available for older adults and that built environments are adapted for all users, she added.
“Our biggest goal is to ensure that older adults are being active. We now have a program where we offer a support helper to get seniors to their activities, and that helper can participate in the event such as singing or pottery for free.”
Removing barriers to activity and socialization, changing how society perceives aging and promoting thoughtful ergonomic design across the municipality are vital components to age-friendly planning in Saanich.
“One moderator at the summit said she wished she could live in Saanich,” Brownoff said.
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