AGE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY INITIATIVE
The Age Friendly Community Initiative is working to enhance the health, independence, and community inclusion of Kootenay seniors.
People and organizations that serve seniors; government, medical and community services, housing and transportation agencies sit down through the AFC Initiative to find gaps in services and look for opportunities to improve seniors’ lives. The AFC Initiative helps various agencies co-ordinate information, develop new services, provide a website for seniors to access, and organizes an annual senior’s fair.
It also coordinates the Moving Together Initiatives, created to help transportation options work better for seniors in the West Kootenays.
Funded initially by the Osprey Community Foundation and Columbia Basin Trust, the AFC Initiative is now in its second three-year phase and has garnered broad community, stakeholder and funder support.
Five years ago Nelson CARES Society asked some basic questions: what services are out there for Kootenay seniors, and what are the barriers to receiving them? What unique services are likely going to be needed to address the region’s rural and isolated seniors? Are we even ready for the wave of baby boomers ready to enter retirement and beyond?
Our research and consultations highlighted three areas that need attention- communication, isolation of rural seniors, and transportation. Those became the focus for the Age Friendly Community Initiative and its main activities.
KOOTENAY SENIORS WEBSITE
A centralized source of information for and about seniors. Launched in 2014, the website has become a resource for seniors and others to find out about available services, organizations and agencies operating in the West Kootenays, as well as activities and news of interest to seniors.
In 2015 the Kootenay Seniors Service Provider Group held the first annual Nelson Seniors Fair. In 2016, supported by the Kootenay Seniors Service Provider Group, Nelson CARES Society; Age Friendly Community Initiative, the newly re-named Kootenay Seniors Fair was attended by more than 300 seniors, friends and families, speaking with resource providers from more than 35 local agencies, business and service organizations.
“Seniors – especially rural seniors – can’t do all the things they used to. People who are aging without a lot of family support around them are an incredibly vulnerable population. If you believe we live in caring society, we should take care of each other.”
– Corrine Younie, Project Co-ordinator