An initiative to make London more age friendly has celebrated two years of community effort.
The Age Friendly London Network (AFLN) held its two-year open house on June 25 to celebrate its accomplishments, provide updates on projects that are underway, and to raise awareness about the value of being an Age Friendly City.
“Today we are celebrating the accomplishments of the Age Friendly London Network and acknowledging the hard work and dedication that our members have displayed over the past year,” said Lynne Livingstone, managing director of neighbourhood, children and fire services for the City of London. “Our second year of implementing the Age Friendly London Three Year Action Plan has seen the working groups tackle some of the large, complex issues that affect older adults in London, such as social inclusion, access to community supports, and ageing-in-place. We are looking forward to building on this momentum.”
The vision of the AFLN is: A diverse, vibrant, caring and healthy community which empowers all individuals to age well and have opportunities to achieve their full potential.
London officials are taking a proactive approach to creating inclusive, accessible and supportive communities through the work of the AFLN.
Now in its second of a three-year action plan, it is responsible for implementing 37 strategies within the eight domains of age-friendliness. These eight domains of age-friendliness are:
- Outdoor spaces and buildings
- Social participation
- Respect and social inclusion
- Civic participation and employment
- Communication and information
- Community support and health services.
Year two accomplishments of the AFLN include:
- Assessed the age-friendliness of 377 London parks using the Age Friendly Parks checklist, improving the ability to prioritize park upgrades in areas that need them the most.
- The City of London installed 31 new age friendly park benches (with arms for easier access) along pathways and trails.
- Developing a multi-language resource (booklet and pamphlet) to teach older adults and new comers to London how to use the bus system (ongoing).
- Creating an age friendly business check list. This check list and accompanying resources will help businesses make age friendly changes to improve access for older adult consumers (ongoing).
- Updated the Seniors Affordable Housing Directory to include information on building and surrounding amenities, definitions, accessibility, and subsidized and affordable housing.
- Mapping older adult programming across the city, to make it easier to find recreation programs in your neighbourhood.
- Held information sessions to teach service providers how to effectively connect with older adult audiences through key information resources like The SouthwestHealthline.ca, Information London and 211 Ontario.
- Initiated collaborative conversations with key stakeholders in community supports & health services, to make the system more age friendly to navigate and access.
London’s aging demographic will have a profound impact on the city in the coming years, as trends show that older adults will make up an increasing segment of the population.
In 1996, 1-in-5 Londoners were 55 or older. By 2011, the number rose to 1-in-4. By 2035, it is estimated that 1-in-3 Londoners will be 55 and older.
The AFLN is working towards supporting citywide change that will impact well-being, improve the public’s ability to age-in-place, and help create vibrant and healthy communities.
Additional information is available at www.london.ca/agefriendly.