Better supports for seniors in the North with age-friendly grants

Health Minister Adrian Dix
Health Minister Adrian Dix

From Kitimat to Tumbler Ridge, seven communities in northern B.C. are receiving age-friendly grants to support seniors so they can live active, socially engaged and independent lives.

“We’re proud to say that this round of age-friendly grants is the second largest we’ve ever had,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, in a news release. “That means even more communities have the opportunity to create age-friendly spaces, opportunities and programs for their local seniors to be engaged.”

A total of $729,500 in age-friendly grants is being provided to B.C. communities in 2019, including, for the first time, four First Nations communities.

Grants will be distributed to Fraser Lake, McBride, Tumbler Ridge, Kitimat, Prince George, Quesnel and Valemount. The communities’ projects and plans include:

* assessing Fraser Lake’s activities to make them age-friendly in all four seasons;

* working with seniors in McBride to create a plan for an age-friendly future;

* reviewing age-friendly work so far in Tumbler Ridge with a plan to meet further needs;

* working on the Reaching Seniors Without Walls home visit program with Better at Home in Kitimat;

* a housing symposium to provide information for seniors in Prince George;

* creating a local seniors council in Quesnel; and

* hosting a Festival of Engaging Aging Residents in Valemount.

The 2019 age-friendly grants will be distributed to 37 communities throughout B.C., three more than the number that received grants in 2018 and more than double the number that received grants in 2017. Together, up to $122,720 will be awarded to communities in northern B.C. to help make their communities more accessible and inclusive for older adults.

Communities that have completed steps toward becoming age-friendly can be officially recognized by the Province as an age-friendly British Columbia community. In 2018, New Westminster and Mackenzie were officially recognized as age-friendly for their work in making them more accessible and inclusive for older adults.

The age-friendly communities grant program is a partnership between the province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. In September 2018, local governments and First Nations communities were invited to apply for grants and encouraged to consider projects that focused on accessibility, aging well, physical activity and non-medical home supports. Successful applicants are eligible to apply for a range of services from BC Healthy Communities Society to support their project.