Our Community is Growing Older





We live across the street from a community centre, pitch and putt, and park.

Wednesday morning, my husband attended a community focus group meeting about ageing in our neighbourhood. The series, presented by the city, is inviting older adults to discuss and to make suggestions with regard to developing a plan for an  "age-friendly" community.

The neighbourhood in which we live used to be a "bedroom suburb." Many of the residents worked in the City of Vancouver or at the nearby Vancouver International Airport. Most families had children and lived in detached homes. We have many schools and parks that were built in the 1960's.



I can walk to church, book club and a coffee and conversation group. Attached to the church is an independent living residence for seniors.

Times have changed! Property values have risen and detached homes are no longer affordable for young families. Our apartment complex which was built in the 1970's was inhabited by "empty nesters" until recently but with apartments of 970-1300 square feet, young families are our newest residents. In our community, 60% of the residents speak a language other than English as a first language.  Elders, young families, immigrants living side by side....Going forward, what will be the needs of our community?


I can walk to community events in Steveston

On July 1, my friend and I walked to the Canada Day celebrations in Steveston which is about 6 kilometres from my home. We have choices to walk on a designated greenway, on the dyke, or through a proposed greenway. There are no public toilets on any of these routes. There few benches or drinking fountains or places to refill water bottles. I suggested to my husband that these facilities might promote active living among all ages.



Errands can be done on foot.

I walk or take transit to purchase small amounts of groceries. I've found that, although I am a quick walker, traffic lights are calibrated to promote traffic flow. If our goal is to reduce unnecessary car trips, the local government must play its part. Safer intersections, maintenance of crosswalks, lighting
and transit shelters promote pedestrian activity. There were "shopping buses" for seniors but service has dropped off due to lack of use. Infrequent and unpublicized services tend to disappear.

Monsieur, who is a cynic, feels that these services are "lip service" but I believe that if we want to promote change in the community, we must take responsibility, become informed and lobby for small changes.

Comments

  1. Small changes can lead to bigger ones. An aging population certainly requires some adaptations. In our suburban neighbourhood, I see a bit of a turn around - some of the retirees are moving on to smaller homes and the detached homes with a garden are being purchased by young families. It revitalizes the area. Your ideas for changes to help seniors are good and I hope the city takes them into account.

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    1. The grey revolution is here and some small adaptations will help them to stay healthy longer. Daily walks are regular social contact are so important.

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  2. Your suggestions seem excellent and I hope others have suggested them too. I would imagine that even young families moving in with small children would benefit from some of the same things that seniors would. Your neighborhood and community sound like a wonderful vibrant place to live, with so much offered.

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    1. There is a lot offered but it seems that many older people still live in isolation. Our church which is nearby hosts a community meal every Thursday. It's not a "soup kitchen" but an opportunity for all (up to 200 people) to eat together. There is no cost and no religious affiliation is necessary.

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  3. Sounds like you are in an ideal situation. We can walk to a number of stores but the walk would be along a major interstate - not good - or winding around for several miles in neighborhoods to avoid the interstate. Same thing if we ride bikes but at least we can do that more quickly. Don't forget to join us when we update our progress on our summer bucket lists on 07.21!

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    1. Our walk score is not as good as it might be but I'm really trying to drive as little as possible.

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