Strategies & Actions

Age Friendly Hamilton

Age-Friendly Plan Header

Background

Seniors are the fastest growing age demographic world-wide.  In Hamilton, there are 167,170 adults age 55+ which represents 30% of the population.  Over the next two decades this number is expected to double.  Planning for the needs and priorities of older adults and seniors is necessary to ensure that they age successfully!

In 2013, the City of Hamilton partnered with the Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA) and Seniors Advisory Committee of Council (SAC) to begin the development of Hamilton’s first Age-Friendly Plan, Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly City (2014).  The plan was endorsed by City Council in 2014 and in 2015, Hamilton became a certified member of the World Health Organization’s Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.  

From 2014 to 2019, the City of Hamilton, HCoA and SAC worked in collaboration with many community partners to make Hamilton an age-friendly city by implementing many of the recommendations in the first plan.  By the end of March 2019, 81 of the 101 recommendations were completed or were being implemented.  In 2019, the City of Hamilton, HCoA and SAC began the process of developing Hamilton’s second Age-Friendly Plan with the goal of identifying the current needs and priorities of older adults and seniors living in Hamilton.  A broad community engagement initiative included multiple methods of community consultation, including a launch event, focus groups, an “Aging in Hamilton” survey, and by attending local events to connect “one to one” with older adults who reside in Hamilton.  By the end of 2019, 4,100 older adults and other community stakeholders were consulted.  Hamilton’s second Age-Friendly Plan was to be launched in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on this goal as the pandemic became the priority.

In 2020, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic further consultation took place to identify the impact of the pandemic on the lives of older adults and seniors residing in Hamilton.  In addition, it was recognized that the needs and priorities of people living with dementia and their caregivers needed to be included in Hamilton’s second Age-Friendly Plan.

Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly Community (2021-2026) was launched in April 2021 and includes 7 strategic goals, 21 objectives and 61 recommendations.  Like Hamilton’s first plan, this plan is a guide for municipal decision-makers and community stakeholders in addressing the current needs and priorities of older adults and seniors living in Hamilton.

Age-Friendly Goals

The Plan is organized around seven goals, 21 objectives and 61 actions and commits to a series of actions to achieve these goals.

Goal 1:  Housing

Safe and affordable housing is fundamental to our health and well-being and represents basic needs upon which other needs are addressed and met. Increasingly, older adults want a broader range of housing options available when making decisions about where they want to live as they age. Most older adults want to age-in-place in their own homes and familiar neighbourhoods.

  • Objective 1: Ensure affordable, accessible and safe housing options for older adults.
  • Objective 2: Increase supports to facilitate aging-in-place.

Goal 2:  Transportation

Transportation is important for active aging, from enabling us to participate in social activities to being able to access health and other core services. The City’s transportation system in both rural and urban areas enables older adults to be involved in their communities.

  • Objective 1: Provide driver training and other supports for older adults to continue to drive safely.
  • Objective 2: Create a public transportation system that is affordable and accessible to everyone living within Hamilton’s geographic boundaries.
  • Objective 3: Implement measures to increase pedestrian safety. 

Goal 3:  Information and Communication

Accurate and reliable information must be available, accessible and easy to find. Community information systems must be available in multiple formats to meet the diverse needs of older adults who may access information in print, online, via telephone, and on local television and radio stations. In addition, community information must be accessible by individuals who may be living with a cognitive impairment, vision and/or hearing challenges or who may have low literacy skills.

  • Objective 1: Increase and improve access to information for all older adults.
  • Objective 2: Review City of Hamilton website to make sure that it is user friendly, easy to access and navigate.
  • Objective 3: Provide training to staff in the public, not-for-profit, profit and private sectors to ensure they have up-to-date information about services designed for isolated and/or vulnerable older adults in Hamilton. 

Goal 4:  Health and Community Services

Older adults should have access to a wide range of supports and services that allow them to remain in their homes and communities with supports that enable aging-in-place. Optimal health and access to community services is fundamental to our overall well being, the goal being to maintain good health and functional ability for as long as possible.

  • Objective 1: older adults while reducing barriers such as language, culture, affordability and transportation.
  • Objective 2: Increase awareness of available health and community programs andservices.

Goal 5:  Social Participation

Opportunities for social participation and connecting with others are critical for our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Whether participating in social and recreational activities in person or through a virtual platform, opportunities should be accessible and reflect the diverse interests and needs of older adults in our community.

  • Objective 1: Maximize use of available resources and spaces to increase program opportunities.
  • Objective 2: Improve access to recreation and leisure activities that are inclusive and accessible for all.
  • Objective 3: Develop partnerships with a variety of transportation services to increase access to programs.
  • Objective 4: Increase awareness about available programs with both older adults and service providers.
  • Objective 5: Offer programs that are affordable for all older adults.
  • Objective 6: Recognizing that not all social participation involves a formal program, make sure there is a strong emphasis on developing social networks within neighbourhoods.

Goal 6:  Civic Engagement, Volunteerism and Employment

Good health, social connections and financial security all impact our overall quality of life. Civic engagement, volunteering and paid employment provide meaningful roles for older adults as community leaders, employees, employers, mentors and volunteers.

  • Objective 1: Reduce ageism in both employment and in volunteerism.
  • Objective 2: Create a framework, guidelines and training to ensure age-friendly and inclusive workplaces.
  • Objective 3: Create communication strategies to more effectively educate and market volunteer opportunities to both community organizations and older adults.

Goal 7:  Outdoor Spaces and Buildings

Outdoor and green spaces should be welcoming and well-maintained in our communities. Spaces include sufficient seating and are accessible for people of all ages and abilities. They are designed with pedestrian safety, cycling and walkability in mind.

  • Objective 1: Provide safe trails and sidewalks for walkers and cyclists of all ages and abilities.
  • Objective 2:  Ensure that the buildings located in public spaces are safe, inclusive, accessible and well maintained.

Milestones

  • 2021:  Launch of Hamilton’s second plan, Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly Community (2021-2026)
  • 2018: Provincial government honours the City of Hamilton with the Ontario Age Friendly Community Recognition Award
  • 2015: The World Health Organization’s Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities certifies Hamilton as a member of the network
  • 2014:  Hamilton City Council endorses Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly City (2014)

 

Contact us

For more information, contact:
Lisa Maychak
Phone: 905-546-2424 Ext.1721
Email: [email protected]