Much has been written over the last few years about our increasing senior population, particularly with regard to the financial implications – the effects of a declining workforce, impacts on health care and the potential impact on public pensions, for example.
Those issues are important to be sure, but the everyday reality at the local level is so much broader.
Over the last year, Oak Bay embarked on a process of identifying how it can become an age-friendly community.
Through the work of Age Friendly Working Group volunteers, by speaking with local groups and organizations working with seniors, and hearing what residents themselves had to say at an open house earlier this year, the community has developed a draft Age Friendly Action Plan, which will be presented at an open house Thursday.
Everything from sidewalks and signage to cultural activities have been included in the discussion. It’s also interesting – and welcome – that young people have asked to be factored into the mix, prompting the draft plan to also include discussions about the importance of building inter-generational relationships, noted Oak Bay planner Deborah Jensen.
As an issue that will affect all of us in time, it’s essential that the municipality be a place where people can continue to live throughout their years, a community where they feel safe, where they can move around easily and find the services they need, and as importantly, where they feel valued.
If you can’t make it to Thursday’s open house, materials will be moved to Monterey centre for several days following to allow even greater feedback.
What does an age-friendly Oak Bay look like? It starts with you, so take the time to share your thoughts and ideas.