Wed, 12 Apr 2017
Oakville is a good place to live for older adults and seniors and offers a variety of opportunities for all ages to stay active and engaged in their community, according to the results of an Age-friendly Baseline Study approved by Council on April 3.
“An age-friendly community not only improves the quality of life of seniors, it creates a more inclusive, safe and accessible place to live for everyone,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “This study will help the town develop policies, programs and services that support residents as they get older.”
The study is part of the town’s efforts to become a more age-friendly community where residents feel engaged, enjoy good health and participate fully in society. It assesses the town’s current strengths, opportunities and gaps based on eight age-friendly community domains identified by the World Health Organization: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services, and social participation.
As part of the assessment, 522 residents completed a questionnaire, interviews and focus groups were held with key stakeholders, and a public open house generated numerous ideas for making Oakville friendlier to an aging population.
Overall, the study findings are positive with 91 per cent of questionnaire respondents rating Oakville as a “very good” or “good” place to live. Residents reported a positive sense of community, an overall feeling of safety in Oakville and access to a broad range of services, programs, activities and events available to older adults. Residents also identified barriers to age-friendliness including access to affordable housing and public transportation and feelings of ageism and being undervalued.
The town’s next steps towards becoming a more age-friendly community include establishing an internal working group to develop a plan for implementing the town’s age-friendly initiatives, researching best practice in other municipalities and continuing to raise awareness of the importance of supporting residents as they age.