Age-Friendly Communities in Manitoba

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1 Age-Friendly Communities in Manitoba Age-Friendly Advisory Committee Community Meeting Summary Winnipeg, Manitoba (St. James-Assiniboia 55+ Centre) June 25, 2009 Community consultations are being held with seniors and community members in a number of communities in Manitoba as part of a larger initiative to make communities and neighbourhoods more age-friendly. On June 25, 2009, 16 individuals from the St. James- Assiniboia 55+ Centre came together to talk about age-friendly issues. The following is a summary of the priorities identified at the meeting.

2 Summary of Group Discussions Priority: Improve Walking Safety on Sidewalks Increase crossing time at particular traffic intersections so that seniors and others can safely cross major streets (e.g., Portage Ave.) before the light changes and the do not walk sign appears (Crossings of concern are: School Rd., Mount Royal, Sharp Blvd., and Polo Park) Clear ice and snow from sidewalks so they are walkable in the winter and ensure that snow is cleared on a regular basis and at an even level Increase the number of walking trails in St. James- Assiniboia so seniors can take short walks in quiet, safe, and accessible places that have benches for resting Increase the size of street signs so they are easier to read Priority: Increase Access to Public Transportation and Ensure Public Transportation is Available Where Needed Build senior residences close to public transportation or ensure public transportation is available to those living in existing senior residences that are located away from bus routes Assess the use of buses in the St. James- Assiniboia area (e.g., increase feeder routes where and when needed on Lodge Ave., Bruce Ave., and Crestview Park Dr. off Hamilton Ave.) Clear snow from boulevards at bus stops for easier, safer access

3 Priority: Assess Home Services Needed to Assist Seniors to Age in Place Educate and assist people on how to use information systems and the health system (e.g. health-related waiting lists) Increase access to handyman services (e.g., yard and home maintenance) by listing services from a credible resource, such as a directory, or a senior centre directory Decrease waiting times to access mental health services Priority: Increase Seniors Participation in Public Affairs Potential Action: Ensure that seniors are involved in city planning issues and consultations, as well as encouraged to participate on boards, councils, committees, etc. Priority: Ensure Accessible Parking and Driveway Entrances Monitor handicap parking spaces on public and private parking lots so spaces are available for those who need them Ensure ploughed snow is cleaned away from driveways so seniors can safely access their homes

4 Priority: Promote More Intergenerational Activities and Further Opportunities for People of all Ages to Interact Priority: Explore Ways to Encourage Seniors to Participate in Volunteer Opportunities and Paid Employment Ensure that senior volunteers are financially reimbursed for their volunteer commitments Explore the possibility of establishing a provincial or federal system to reimburse volunteers (e.g., tax receipts, claim transportation expenses) Expand part-time employment opportunities available to seniors to include a greater variety of positions Priority: Expand Opportunities for Seniors to Participate in Social Activities Make certain that transportation options are available and affordable so seniors that choose to can actively participate in social activities in the community Encourage seniors centres and other organizations that have limited parking to develop parking pass systems (e.g., allow seniors using the facility to park all day on streets where only one-hour parking is available, etc.) Consider the time of day that activities are offered (e.g., Leisure Guide offers few afternoon activities that many seniors would prefer) Target isolated seniors by exploring ways to encourage them to become more socially active Develop more programs to assist caregivers (i.e., respite care)

5 Priority: Improve Communication and Increase Awareness Use multiple methods of communication to spread information and to reach a variety of seniors (e.g., radio, TV, computer, newspaper, etc.) Ensure that ways of communicating are agefriendly: For example: Enlarge the font on information read by seniors (e.g., medications and prescriptions, cleaning products, Seniors section in the Winnipeg Free Press, etc.) Offer assistance and training to seniors in using automated telephone systems (e.g., inform that pressing 0 will often allow them to speak to a person) Offer more training programs for seniors (e.g., computer training) Ensure programs are affordable for seniors on fixed incomes Consider having senior-related information and resources available at a specific day/time on a local TV channel to keep seniors better informed Encourage and assist seniors to come up with alternative, creative ways to express concerns or state opinions (e.g., write a letter if one does not feel confident or is unable to speak to a caretaker in-person) Inform seniors of organizations that will advocate on their behalf

6 Priority: Expand Housing Options for Seniors Develop new housing accommodations in this community Ensure that housing is affordable for seniors of all income levels, especially those in the middleincome range (that do not qualify for subsidized housing and are strongly affected by rent increases) Consider the proximity of housing units to essential services (e.g., bus stops, grocery stores) Explore the need to build more personal care homes in the St. James-Assiniboia neighbourhood Assess waiting lists at personal care homes in the City of Winnipeg and explore ways to shorten admission times Increase supports and services to help seniors continue to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible Example: Yard maintenance (grass cutting, snow clearing) Ensure services are affordable for all seniors Contact a local High School to explore the possibility of having students assist seniors with particular tasks and obtaining volunteer credits

7 Summary of Survey Responses As part of a community consultation held in Winnipeg (St. James Seniors Centre Group) on June 25, 2009, individuals were asked to complete a brief questionnaire designed to collect information on the age-friendliness of their neighbourhood. A total of 16 questionnaires were completed with the majority (n=14) from the St. James neighbourhood area; two individuals named other neighbourhood areas (Charleswood, River Heights). This report summarizes the findings from the 16 individuals who completed the Age-Friendly Communities Survey; 88% identified themselves as a senior. Most Age-Friendly Areas Overall, the residents who completed the survey, feel safe when walking alone during the day, feel there are sidewalks linking residences and essential services, and seniors are generally treated with respect. Residents also feel there are enough pleasant places for walking as well as accessible local parks or walking trails in the area for seniors. Least Age-Friendly Areas Housing was identified as an important issue for seniors. Based on their responses, affordable housing, subsidized housing for low-income seniors and reasonable waiting times to get into senior housing could be improved. Senior residents also indicated that they would like to be more involved in their neighbourhood through work place accommodation and paid job opportunities. Bring seniors and children together through intergenerational programs was needed. Residents also indicated home care services that support seniors in their own homes are not as sufficient as well as seniors advocacy services. Priority Areas Individuals were also asked to write down the top five issues they felt needed to be most urgently addressed in their community. Nine of the 16 individuals (56.3%) identified at least one priority area. Housing (low affordable) Building accessibility (improve wheelchair accessibility, automatic doors) Health care/home care (services to assist seniors who want to stay in their own home) Sidewalk and street maintenance (snow removal, make curbs safe for wheelchairs) Social activities/social inclusion Transportation (tab breaks for mileage claims) Safety outdoors (lighting outside, general safety concerns)

8 Age-Friendly Survey Responses Housing There is enough housing that meets the needs of seniors Housing for seniors is affordable There is enough subsidized housing for low-income seniors The waiting times are reasonable to get into senior housing that provides supports to seniors (e.g., assisted living, nursing homes) There is enough housing for younger people Transportation The transit service to shopping, medical services, senior centres, religious events, cultural events, and so forth is convenient The bus stops in my neighbourhood are convenient; for example, there is a bench, snow is cleared The transportation that is available for individuals with disabilities (e.g., Handi-Van) is sufficient. Public transportation (including Handi-Van) is affordable for seniors. There are volunteer drivers or an informal network of drivers available for seniors who need transportation. There are enough parking spaces close to services and stores. There are enough handicap parking spaces close to services and stores Safety Crime and vandalism are a problem Seniors feel safe when walking alone during the day Seniors feel safe when walking alone during the night

9 Outdoor Spaces and Buildings The road signs in my neighbourhood are easy to read and large enough for older drivers. There are sidewalks linking residences and essential services in most or all areas of my neighbourhood. Sidewalks in most or all areas of my neighbourhood are well maintained (even surfaces or paved, not a lot of cracks). Snow clearing is done in a timely manner so walking and driving is safe There are enough street crosswalks in busy business areas There are enough street crosswalks in busy residential and/or recreation areas There are enough public washrooms in key areas of my neighbourhood (e.g., business and recreation areas) Public washrooms accommodate people with wheelchairs Most or all businesses and public buildings are readily accessible to everybody (e.g., have wheelchair ramps, automatic doors). Information/Advocacy Information about neighbourhood events is readily available to seniors. Information about services and programs provided by various organizations is readily available to seniors. Official, written information, such as forms or brochures is easy to read and understand (e.g., large print, clear language). Official, written information is available in different languages for seniors from different ethnic origins (e.g., Aboriginal, Chinese, Filipino). Public telephone answering services are adapted to the needs of seniors (e.g., instructions are given clearly and slowly enough). There is enough assistance available for completing official forms (e.g., help with filling out government or income tax forms). There are enough seniors' advocacy services available in Winnipeg (e.g., ombudsman to inform others of seniors needs)

10 Social Participation/Recreation My neighbourhood has enough pleasant places for walking (e.g., walking trails, parks, well-treed streets). Local parks or walking trails are accessible and easy to use for seniors (e.g., paths with even surfaces) There are enough resting areas with benches along paths or trails There are enough exercise classes specifically for seniors There are enough recreation programs specifically for seniors (e.g., card games, arts, crafts) There are enough lifelong learning programs specifically for seniors (e.g., learning new things such as the use of computers) There are enough programs in my neighbourhood that bring seniors and children together (e.g., school reading programs, children spending time with seniors). Recreational activities, such as exercise and other recreational programs, are generally affordable for seniors. Isolated seniors (e.g., those who don t have anybody) are contacted, visited or taken to activities. Health and Community Services The home care services that support seniors in their own homes (e.g., meal preparation, nursing care) are sufficient. The services that help seniors around the home (e.g., snow removal, lawn care, garbage brought to the street) are sufficient. The congregate meal programs available (e.g., lunch at recreation or senior centre) are sufficient. The meal delivery services that bring meals to seniors' homes are sufficient. The health care services that are provided in Winnipeg meet the needs of seniors (e.g., hospital, physicians, eye care). Access to health care (e.g., physicians, eye care) is generally convenient (e.g., waiting times are reasonable, appointment times are convenient)

11 Community/Work Force Participation There are enough volunteer opportunities for seniors There is enough official recognition for seniors who volunteer (e.g., an appreciation banquet or volunteer awards) There are enough paid job opportunities for seniors The job opportunities in my neighbourhood accommodate the needs of seniors (e.g., part-time work is available) Respect and Social Isolation Seniors are generally treated with respect Community consultations specifically include seniors Planning processes specifically consider needs of seniors (e.g., planning for housing or transportation) The views expressed herein reflect the opinions of the participants and do not necessarily represent the views of the Age-Friendly Communities Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) or the Centre on Aging. This summary was prepared by the Age-Friendly Communities CURA. CURA is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Summary prepared by: Louise Hutton, Dawn Veselyuk, and Rachel Ines Team leader: Dr. Verena Menec, Canada Research Chair in Healthy Aging, Director, Centre on Aging, University of Manitoba For more information contact: Centre on Aging, University of Manitoba 338 Isbister Building Winnipeg MB R3T 2N2 Phone: (204) Fax: (204) Web site: Published: November 6, 2009

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