Results of age-friendly survey revealed
Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017 06:00 am
We, the Age-Friendly Committee, part of the Olds Institute (OI), with support from town council, are using Alberta Health's resources and survey questions.
The World Health Organization defines age-friendly communities as ones with policies, services, etc., that enable people to age actively by:
Recognizing the wide range of capacities and resources among older persons.
Anticipating and responding flexibly to age-related needs and preferences.
Respecting decisions and lifestyle choices.
Protecting those who are most vulnerable.
Promoting inclusion in all areas of community life.
Benefits of age-friendly communities are:
stronger community connections
more optimal use of public resources
greater opportunities for business
We surveyed 200 people of whom:
• 24 per cent were males and 57 per cent were females
• those under 65 years of age, 20 per cent
• those 65 to 74 years, 29 per cent
• those 75 to 84 years, 30 per cent
• those 85 years and over, six per cent
Respondents included: families, 33 per cent; caregivers, 11 per cent; and neighbours, eight per cent. Each person looks at seniors' needs from a different perspective.
We conducted our surveys at the Evergreen Centre, Sunrise, Legacy and Whitewater Way homes, A&W and the legion.
When committee members asked people to complete the survey to help identify services and potential needs in Olds, many responded by comments such as: "it does not pertain to me”, “I don't need any services”, or “my children or spouse looks after all that."
The problem with these responses for seniors, once they need services and care, is they must make choices when they may feel unwell, when there may be limited resources, and when they must make life-altering choices in a hurry.
Meanwhile, planners need to be proactive and have the information before services, etc., are required. As we age in our community, we need to be prepared for the grey tsunami and be aware of what our future needs may be.
We thank all those who took the time to answer the survey and to identify issues and/or possible solutions.
In two weeks we will review responses to the first issue: outdoor spaces and buildings, including sidewalks, pathways and trails, public restrooms and rest areas, and public buildings.
-- Bernice Lynn is a member of the Age-Friendly Committee.