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Ian Sinclair . . .
Seniors in Caledon
By the year 2036, seniors will represent about 24% of the population versus 14% in 2010. Caledon will experience a rapid increase in the senior’s age group in the very near future.
The current generation of seniors, [65+ years] are full-fledged members of society. Programs must be implemented with respect for people’s individual needs and as members of families. Not all seniors fit a standard definition of ‘well-being’ or ‘wellness’ which makes the design of support programs challenging, but that is no reason to continue to avoid the task.
It is estimated it will cost $1.2 trillion to provide long term care to the baby boomers, but current government programs will only finance about 50% of that amount.
The Town of Caledon Seniors’ Advisory Committee has received many sound presentations and advice but there seem to be no new Town policies or initiatives to deal with the complex problem. This is not a criticism of the committee members but rather a sign that the issues are complex. The Seniors Committee is developing an Older Adults Strategic Plan Project.
Various programs designed to address seniors would include:
• Seniors adaptable housing
• Residential Long Term Care
• Community Support Services developed specifically for seniors
• Paramedic Services adaptations
• Transportation enhancements
• Capacity building to recognize & support seniors’ social isolation and loneliness
• Public Health Programs in collaboration with health care providers
The above list is not complete and illustrates the complexity of addressing seniors’ issues but probably no less necessary than dealing with children and all that goes into their education.
Some ideas which are achievable in Caledon with only a little work are …
Senior-Sensitive Building Standards for All Homes:
The 2014 Provincial Policy Statements, governing all land use planning decisions in Ontario, contains a new Implementation policy 4.6 “This Provincial Policy Statement shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” This allows Caledon to amend its Building By-laws and Official Plan to incorporate accessible and adaptable housing for aging-in- place.
This could include basic changes to all new housing such as grade level main floors, three foot wide entrance doors, a room on the ground floor changeable from a den to a bedroom, interior doors on the main floor wide enough for wheel chairs, walls in bathrooms strong enough for securing grab bars, etc. These provisions would be good for anyone now, and good for future seniors.
Seniors Designed Group Homes:
I’ve participated in conversations with seniors about the potential for 8-12 unit garden suite additions to existing rural houses on suitable lots. Such multi-unit dwellings would provide for some efficiency in common living while allowing for privacy.
Having affordable, accessible and respectable housing to keep seniors here in Caledon is important. It would also provide an alternative for people to down-size and to age within their home instead of long term care facilities. There are a lot of rural homes in Caledon which could be extended in this way.
All new sports facilities should be designed for multi-use and all ages. As Caledon designs, builds and permits new sports facilities the temptation to build for single-purpose and young people only should be discouraged.
Lifetime recreation for sport, health and community interaction must be a basic design principle, which deliberately mixes age groups and programs, needs to be encouraged. New community centres must also be designed for easy access and continuous learning in order to keep people of all ages together and in contact with each other.
Soft Seniors Support:
One resident said to me the following:
“I have lived in Caledon for over 30 years on one of the farthest west corners of Caledon. We have no services for seniors over here and have to go to Georgetown to have any contact with seniors. I was looking for help around my house mainly outside for years and just finally found someone through a lady at my church, but did contact the elected officials in our Ward 2 and the Town of Caledon with absolutely no help. I found my helper myself. We need some kind of list of people who are available to give assistance to seniors who are getting close to having to sell due to the work load getting too much to handle.”
The Town could help coordinate and encourage different types of senior in-home and garden support to facilitate people staying in their home, in their neighbourhood and among friends as long as possible. High school students may earn community credits for helping with chores if there were a coordinating role implemented by the Town Recreation Department along with school boards and church groups.
Lots of details need to be worked out but such a solution has been suggested by residents, and it is a good one that I would pursue.
Caledon should pursue inclusionary zoning to guide new housing projects and adapting existing housing in Caledon. Design for lifetime neighbourhoods must be a goal. Inclusionary zoning is a notion where a mix of housing types, sizes and site amenities are required as part of new development. Progress has been made in South Fields which is the first attempt to design and scratch build a whole new village in a corn field.
Please compare the record and policies of the other candidates before you vote!
Some Additional Information Sources on Seniors:
World Health Organization Seniors information: http://www.who.int/ageing/en/
Age Friendly Cities Guide: http://www.who.int/ageing/publications/Global_age_friendly_cities_Guide_English.pdf
Age Friendly Communities:
Canada Mortgage & Housing Publications:
Region of Peel’s AGING POPULATION TERM OF COUNCIL PRIORITY STEERING COMMITTEE’S FINDINGS REPORT, April 10, 2014
It’s time …to CHOOSE INTEGRITY
It’s time … to CHOOSE EXPERIENCE
It’s time … to CHOOSE KNOWLEDGE
It’s time … to CHOOSE
IAN SINCLAIR for REGIONAL COUNCILLOR
© 2018 Sinclair For Regional Councillor Committee All rights reserved
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