Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff is an advocate for age-friendly municipalities and shared her knowledge at a recent conference virtually hosted by the International Aging Federation.
The Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Summit brought together knowledgeable individuals from across North America to discuss promoting the well-being, connection, and security of older adult populations.
Brownoff stressed the continuing need to prioritize existing infrastructure and development plans in Saanich, as well as to ensure that seniors have social connections.
Informing policies through engineering models, such as pedestrian crossings that allow enough time for seniors to cross busy roads, as well as prioritizing mental health, are some of Brownoff’s main focuses. Such a focus is similarly outlined by the World Health Organization’s approach to age-friendliness.
“I spoke about Saanich’s goal of ensuring that our community is one for all ages and abilities – all that our departments have an age-appropriate component,” Brownoff said.
Saanich staff is working to make sure healthy living choices are available to seniors and that built-in facilities are suitable for all users, she added.
“Our biggest goal is to ensure that the elderly are active. We now have a program where we offer a support assistant to attract seniors to their activities and that assistant can participate for free in events such as singing or ceramics.
Removing barriers to activity and socialization, changing the way society perceives aging, and promoting thoughtful ergonomic design throughout the municipality are vital components to age-friendly planning in Saanich.
“A summit moderator said she would like to live in Saanich,” Brownoff said.
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