Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
In late 2009, the Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative (NAFCI) was awarded a three-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, to promote awareness of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) age-friendly principles, and local action toward making Niagara a more age-friendly community for people of all ages, with a special focus on older adults. According to Statistics Canada 2011 Community Profiles, Niagara is home to 81,060 persons over the age of 65, representing 18.8% of the total population of Niagara, slightly lower than the Ontario rate of 20.6%. The rate is expected to climb to represent 28.8% of the population by 2036. Statistics Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Finance project that by 2036, the number of older adults living in Niagara is expected to increase by 91.4%.
In 2010, the NAFCI was piloted in the City of Welland. A community engagement and action plan was established as a basis for encouraging age-friendly action in all twelve of the local municipalities throughout Niagara. By April 2012, over 100 citizens from across Niagara had participated in a total of twelve age-friendly roundtable focus groups. Their thoughts and ideas provided a basis to advance local age-friendly action in communities throughout Niagara.
Common themes for age-friendly action priorities are:
• leveraging the power of intergenerational opportunities, and valuing the wisdom of seniors’ advisory committees to guide local planning;
• utilizing age-friendly communication practices across all sectors, Niagara-wide; and
• applying walkability and transit lenses to our planning, so that citizens are connected to their community, and vulnerable people have access to health and human services.
NAFCI is supported by the following community partners:
• Rose City Seniors Foundation
• Niagara Region
• City of Welland
• Welland Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee
• Niagara Connects (formerly known as Niagara Research and Planning Council).