JOHN PUXTY is a Geriatrician, an Associate Professor and Chair of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Queen’s University, the Chair of the Southeastern Ontario Regional Geriatric Program, Director of the Centre for Studies in Aging and Health and Chair of the Seniors Health Knowledge Network. John has a primary interest in promoting healthy aging and effective care for seniors with a research interest in aging, chronic disease, knowledge mobilization and information technology.
Lessons Learned from Established Age-Friendly Communities: One Decade Later
DOMINIC VENTRESCA is currently serving as the co-chair for the Age-Friendly Niagara Network Leadership Council. This is a volunteer-led Ontario Trillium Foundation funded group that has developed and is now implementing a community-driven Aging Strategy and Action Plan. He is also currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (HNHB LHIN). Prior to this, Dominic was the Director of Seniors Services for the Regional Municipality of Niagara and was responsible for overseeing the management of eight long-term care homes, ten adult day programs and numerous other community programs. During his career, he served on many community and provincial organizations including the Board of Directors of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS), Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) Oversight Committee for the HNHB LHIN, Central South Mental Health Implementation Task Force of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ontario Gerontology Association (OGA). Dominic is a graduate of the University of Toronto (Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Gerontology) and McMaster University (Homes for the Aged Management Certificate). After a 36-year career in seniors services, he is happily enjoying “retired” life with his wife, adult children and grandchildren, while supporting his 91 year-old mother in her family home and promoting age-friendly community principles in various volunteer roles across southern Ontario.
BONNIE SCHROEDER is a registered social worker with over 20 years of experience developing innovative community programs for seniors and their caregivers in the mental health, home and community care, and public health sectors. Since August 2016, She has worked with The Council on Aging of Ottawa as the Age Friendly Ottawa Director. In addition, she is a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Social Sciences where she teaches in the Minor in Gerontology
ANGELA ANDREWS lives in Haliburton County, a rural area located about three hours north of Toronto. She works as a Health Promoter with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. Angela has over 15 years of experience in various programs within the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Department. She currently chairs the Aging Well Committee focusing on advocating for seniors and planning for age-friendly communities, to prevent falls and injury. Angela has also been a co-principal investigator/team lead for two Locally Driven Collaborative Research Projects through Public Health Ontario on falls prevention. Angela has a passion for health promotion and sees value in preventative health. She is the Chair of Health Promotion Ontario and is currently the Acting Chair for Health Promotion Canada. When not at work, she is working part time towards her Masters Degree in Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria. Angela is a proud single mom who loves spending time outside with her daughter Ruby, either mountain biking, camping, skiing or going on adventures, she loves to encourage her daughter to be brave and to believe in herself and is happy to be an adventure mama.
LUCY MARCO – A lifetime resident of Brantford, Ontario, and retired after 57 years in the work force, Lucy brings “lived experience” from 17 different careers and 50+ years in volunteer service in 40+ community organizations. Some examples of community recognition are the Canada 150/Ontario 150 Medallion, Citizenship and Immigration Canada Citation for Citizenship, Rotary Sunrise Paul Harris Fellow Award, YMCA Brantford Peace Medal and Brantford/Brant Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Achievement Award.
ALEXANDRA GRAHAM is the Manager of Community Partnerships in Strategic Planning at the City of Brantford. She is currently leading the Strategic Planning team supporting Age-friendly planning, Healthy Brantford, Graduate Brantford, Safe Brantford, and the Healthy Kids Community Challenge. She also has experience working in the non-profit and environmental sectors. She has worked as a Director at Habitat for Humanity Toronto, Third World Canada, and Emerge Guelph. Alex is an advocate for the environment and was an official delegate to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France. Alexandra has a Masters of Planning from the University of Waterloo and an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.
Age-Friendly Communities (AFCs) promote healthy aging, independence, and inclusion by improving the built and social environments. Though a provincial framework has provided a common language and a common approach to planning and implementation, communities are seeing success via the opportunity to adapt planning and implementation processes to meet the unique context and needs of their communities.
This session will include an initial review of factors that contribute to the sustainability of age-friendly community planning and implementation efforts, followed by case-study examples from four communities that have been engaged in AFC planning and implementation for 7+ years. Each speaker will describe their approach and share lessons learned, demonstrating the variations in approach, breadth of impact and value of harnessing the collective wisdom.
Though case study presentations will vary, it is the belief of this group that sharing these experiences will help accelerate planning for new communities and strengthen implementation efforts of more established communities.
Age-Friendly Community (AFC) initiatives require iterative cycles of planning and implementation supported by resources, activities, and engagement with the community, along with collaboration among stakeholders in an ongoing way over many years. A two year review of age-friendly communities in Ontario has now been completed by the Ontario AFC Outreach Program. This presentation will report on the findings from interviews with 53 Ontario AFCs to understand when, how, and why AFC initiatives in Ontario have been initiated and the factors required for ensuring the sustainability of local AFC initiatives. Knowledge about sustainability of AFC planning and implementation can inform AFCs of best practices to support success and promote the development of provincial AF policies and practices.
Niagara has joined a global effort led by the World Health Organization to become an age-friendly community. The goal is to create safe and secure environments that foster community participation, personal health and well-being. The Age-Friendly Initiative in Niagara has been in development for 8 years and is led by the Age-Friendly Niagara Network (AFNN), a group of local citizens, volunteers, community partners and municipal leaders who have joined together to learn about, take action on and champion age-friendly community principles to make Niagara a ‘community for all ages’. Funded by Ontario Trillium Foundation grants, the Age-Friendly Niagara Network conducted an extensive consultation process to inform and collaboratively develop the Niagara Aging Strategy and Action Plan. This presentation will highlight how a volunteer-led community-development approach has enabled the community to build momentum, leverage existing assets, ensure coordination of efforts and sustain progress over time.
Since 2012, Age Friendly Ottawa (a community initiative led by the Council on Aging of Ottawa) and the municipal Older Adult Plan (led by the City government) have aimed to improve the age-friendliness of the city. We have engaged older persons and facilitated the development of policies, services and structures that support and enable older residents to age actively. In 2015, the two partners jointly embarked on a project to measure the age-friendliness of Ottawa and thus the impact of Age Friendly Ottawa and Older Adult Plan over time. The goals of the project were to:
- Develop an evaluation framework for measuring the age-friendliness of Ottawa across time
- Identify a set of indicators for measuring the age-friendliness of Ottawa across time using multiple sources of data
- produce a report on how age-friendly is Ottawa for the first wave of data
The selected population-based outcome indicators are each associated with an available national, provincial, and local data sources. Challenges were encountered including data availability and access to existing data. Gaps in indicators were also noted. As a result we have pursued this partnership to access the data through the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging and the development of a self-report survey.
As the older adult population continues to grow in Canada, falls among this age group are continuing to occur, causing stress, immobility, isolation and even death. There is a need for fall prevention policies, programs, and services, to promote health and safety in older adults and decrease demands and costs to the health care system. In 2006, the World Health Organization created the Age-Friendly Communities concept, and introduced 8 key domains to support active aging and enhance quality of life for people in their own cities and communities during the aging process. In 2009, the Aging Well Committee formed in Haliburton, Ontario. It was one of the first rural communities to look at how creating an age-friendly community could support the aging process and create supportive and safer environments that would keep people out of the hospital. The committee has been working ever since, to tackle aging related concerns in the County. The Aging Well Committee has just successfully completed an Age-Friendly Master Plan for Haliburton County (2017), which will help to improve planning at the County and Municipal levels, and will support the prevention of falls by allowing people to feel safe and secure and to live longer, healthier lives in their own homes and communities.
The City of Brantford has been prioritizing age-friendly planning for over a decade. In 2008, “A Community for a Lifetime: A Master Aging Plan for Brantford and Brant County” was released. As a result of this planning process, the Grand River Council on Aging was incorporated to meet the needs of our aging population through education, awareness, and creating linkages.
The City of Brantford is proud of the progress made in our community in partnership with community agencies, including the Grand River Council on Aging. In 2016, the City of Brantford was awarded an Age-Friendly Community Planning Grant to secure external consultants to review corporate readiness for an aging population. Overall, the report suggested that the City was well-advanced in achieving an age-friendly community.
The City of Brantford age-friendly achievements include over 50 City-run activities for older adults, free learning and digital literacy programs for older adults, age-friendly and accessibility policies, fully accessible transit, targeted communication channels to engage older adults, and recognition from the World Health Organization as a member of the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. This presentation will review factors that have enabled the success, impact and sustainability of the age-friendly work in Brantford.