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 Plan for an Age-Friendly City. Since the number of older adults and seniors in Hamilton is expected to double over the next two decades, the Plan helps to identify and address the needs and priorities of this growing part of our population.
Since 2014, the City, HCoA and SAC have worked with many community partners to make Hamilton an age-friendly city. This work includes building on projects that are already happening in the community, such as barrier-free spaces, housing opportunities, safer neighbourhoods, and available communication.
The Plan is organized around seven goals and commits to a series of actions to achieve these goals. The City and Hamilton Council on Aging will continue to work together to achieve all of the actions identified in the Plan by 2019.
1. Housing - choice is available and affordable
Goal: Everyone should have a place to live. People are supported in ways that make sense for their unique circumstances with a full range of housing options in their neighbourhood.
- Older adults can easily access the information they need with respect to various housing options and have tools available to help them plan for their aging.
- Older adults' housing affordability, stability and choice is increased and maintained over time.
- People receive respectful, quality services within a 'user-friendly' system and experience equity and inclusion when accessing social housing.
- Ensure older adults have the individualized supports they need to help them obtain and maintain housing.
Progress to date
- Intergenerational Co-Housing: McMaster University is piloting a co-housing program that matches grad students looking for low cost housing with older adults age 55+ in exchange for help with household chores.
- National Housing Strategy: The City’s Housing Services Division advocated to the Federal Government for the development of a National Housing Strategy, which was released in 2017.
- Tips for Property Owners and Residents: Brochures for property owners and tenants were developed and distributed providing information and tips about home adaptations. This project is a partnership of the Hamilton Council on Aging, Public Health Department, McMaster University, St. Joseph’s Homecare, and the Seniors Advisory Committee.
2. Getting Around Greater Hamilton - options enable seniors to get around Hamilton
Goal: The City's transportation systems, urban design and physical infrastructure enable people to participate in community life as they choose, as well as age in their community.
- Ensure the ideas and concerns expressed in this plan inform the Master Transportation Plan.
- Investigate the design, feasibility and funding opportunities for developing a shared ride model that provides the "right" amount of door-to-door convenience mixed with the cost effectiveness of shared ride.
- Building on existing services and capacity, identify opportunities to expand usage of community bus shuttles or volunteer drives as a way of getting people directly to where they want to go.
- Improve the ease of using public transit.
- Improve the Disabled and Aged Regional Transportation System (DARTS)
- With new developments and where possible with redevelopment, implement a complete communities policy.
Progress to date
- “Let’s Get Moving”: A two year project led by the Hamilton Council on Aging, and is designed to inspire older adults to become engaged in active forms of transportation. The series is comprised of three types of workshops: “Let’s Take the Bus”, “Let’s Ride a Bike”, and “Let’s Take a Walk”. There will be a total of 15 workshops, and in 2017 fi ve workshops took place with 120 participants.
- Pedestrian Crossovers and Signalized Intersections: In 2017, 28 new pedestrian crossovers were installed, and 12 new signalized intersections. As of December 31, 2017, there were 63 traffi c signal installations throughout greater Hamilton which have Pedestrian Count Down timers.
- Seniors and Pedestrian Safety: These workshops aim to increase the safety of senior pedestrians by building capacity around the use of new pedestrian crossovers at signalized intersections. The goal is to reach 200 seniors. In 2017, 108 seniors participated in these workshops. This project is a collaboration of the City, Seniors Advisory Committee, Hamilton Council on Aging and McMaster University’s School of Rehabilitation Science.
- Community Bus Program: One year funding to continue to offer free or low cost transportation for seniors and older adults residing in rural communities to shop and access social events. This program is a partnership of the City’s Recreation Division, DARTS, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Ancaster Information Services.
- Grocery Shopping for Older Adults: A brochure was developed to increase awareness about services to assist with grocery shopping in greater Hamilton. Services include community bus programs, volunteer assisted shopping, and online shopping through private businesses.
3. Communication and Information - is easy to access and understand
Goal: Older adults have access to information and systems that are better connected, and are able to influence and design the type of information systems they need; customer service and wayfinding are intentional and responsive to individual needs and capacities.
- Increase awareness of local trusted sources of information (i.e. 905-546-CITY, Redbook.ca, 211).
- Improve communication between the City of Hamilton and other residents.
- Increase digital literacy of older adults.
- Increase access to assistive devices and translation services for the non-profit sector.
- Improve access to plainly written information on what is available to older adults.
Progress to date
- Community Resources for Older Adults: This user-friendly guide is available in print or online at www.hamilton.ca/seniors.
4. Healthy and Community Services - support aging-in-place
Goal: Older adults have access to a wide range of supports and services that allow them to remain in their homes and attend to their health and personal needs. Aging in community is eased by good urban design, appropriate housing, and the support of family and community.
- Improve access to supports that reduce risk and assist older adults to be able to remain safely in their homes longer.
- Ensure that older adults have easy, seamless and equitable access to services that cross the continuum of care.
Progress to date
- Community Paramedicine Supporting Seniors: Hamilton Paramedic Service has supported many seniors living with chronic health conditions through home visits, CityHousing Hamilton health clinics and remote patient monitoring. These services have decreased the number of repeat hospital visits for many seniors served.
- 650 Socially Isolated Seniors Connected and Supported: Through the Hamilton Seniors Isolation Impact Plan, this 3 year funded collaborative is aimed at reducing social isolation among seniors in Hamilton. The collaborative consists of seven organizations with various projects that contribute to a common set of goals.
- Elder Abuse Education: “It’s Not Right!” train the trainer workshops are being provided by Elder Abuse Ontario in partnership with Hamilton organizations to stop the abuse of older adults.
- Financial Empowerment Strategy: Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC) has received 3 year funding to help low-income citizens, including seniors access financial resources they are entitled to.
5. Social Participation - recreation, leisure and cultural activities foster social connections
Goal: Social engagement opportunities are welcoming and reflect the diverse interests and preferences of older adults in the community, and are available in a variety of formats.
- Ensure there are recreation, leisure and cultural activities for older adults throughout greater Hamilton in a variety of venues that are easily accessible and meet their diverse needs and interests.
- Centres that serve older adults should be designed to meet the needs of a variety of clients and help diverse groups to age in successful and productive ways.
Progress to date
- 700 Older Adults Participated with 50 Exhibitors: The Older Adult Network (OAN), including the City of Hamilton hosted their annual Seniors Kick-off event, which included various exhibits, workshops, entertainment, and a luncheon.
- Victoria Park Clubhouse: The City’s Recreation Division opened a new seniors club in Strathcona neighbourhood.
- 55+ It’s Your Day Recreation Programming: The City’s Recreation Division has expanded programming for seniors by offering programs at four City recreation centres: Sir Allan MacNab, Central Memorial, Dalewood and Stoney Creek. Registered programs run on a four-week basis and allow a portion of the patrons to participate on a drop-in, first come, and first serve basis.
- Intergenerational Music Program: MHope, a student-led program partners elementary schools with retirement homes in their local community for a monthlong music engagement program facilitated by McMaster University students. In 2017, this program reached 8 communities in Hamilton and engaged 200 students and 150 seniors.
6. Civic Engagement, Volunteerism, Employment - meaningful opportunities are available
Goal: Hamilton's vibrant civic life includes meaningful roles for older people as leaders, influencers, employers and volunteers.
- Ensure there is a range of meaningful volunteer opportunities that use the gifts and talents of older adults in service to others or the community at large.
- Older adults are valued as employees.
Progress to date
- 500 Guests and 34 Nominees: 2017 marked the 22nd year for the Hamilton Municipal Senior of the Year Awards. This event honours and celebrates those citizens over the age of 65 who have voluntarily contributed to their community in various areas. Nominees represented all 15 wards. In attendance for the first time was the Ontario Minister of Seniors Affairs.
- YWCA Hamilton Peer Connectors: Under the umbrella of the Hamilton Seniors Isolation Impact Plan, this program recruits and trains older adult volunteers to engage isolated seniors in activities that help improve health and reduce isolation.
Promoting Positive Images of Aging:
- Portraits of Aging: A project led by the Hamilton Council of Aging, is a seniorled initiative to combat ageism by sharing stories, lessons, wisdom and inspirational messages from local older adults.
- Seniors of Canada, Hamilton Project: The Gilbrea Student Group at McMaster University are leading a project that aims to portray seniors as they are to combat age stereotypes through intergenerational picture and story sharing in Hamilton. This project is funded by the Student Proposals for Intellectual Community and Engaged Scholarship (SPICES).
7. Age Friendly Public Service - City services champion Hamilton being an Age Friendly community
Goal: Leader in all City of Hamilton departments will champion age-friendly strategies in their scope of authority and practice, and in partnership with the community.
- Ensure that the development of all planning and programming of policy frameworks and City services uses an equity and inclusion lens, i.e. the unique characteristics and needs of different populations including older adults are taken into account,
- Ensure that policies, programs and services for older adults in Hamilton are aligned with promisin and emerging practices.
- Increase the ease of inter-departmental collaboration and coordination in planning for, and serving, older adults.
- Enaged the communiuty and other stakeholders in the implementation of this Plan.
Progress to date
- The World Health Organization (WHO): The Hamilton Senior of the Year Awards program was submitted and approved by WHO. A new age friendly practice is required each year to remain certifi ed as an age friendly community.
- 200 Older Adults Attended and 15 Exhibitors: The City of Hamilton and Hamilton Council on Aging hosted their 2nd Annual Age Friendly Symposium, which was an opportunity to communicate progress under Hamilton’s Age Friendly Plan. Also included were presentations and a luncheon.
- New Customer Service Model: The City’s Customer Contact Centres, Municipal Centres, Recreation Division and Information Technology developed a new customer service model.
- McMaster University as an Age Friendly Leader: McMaster is the second university in Canada to join the International Age-Friendly University (AFU) network.
For more information, contact:
Phone: 905-546-2424 Ext.1721
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