As a Gerontologist I read with interest news stories about older persons.
Unfortunately, the reports that make the headlines often feature a narrative suggesting aging is a problem to be fixed.
“More help needed for Delta seniors who want to live at home” a recent article stated. “Many seniors want to remain in their own home longer to keep their independence, but face challenges including mobility, mental health and financial constraints.”
While these are significant challenges identified in the article, if there is a problem to be fixed it is the need to reinvent our cities to be age-friendly, our long-term care institutions to be homes and our neighbourhoods to support ageing in place.
There is good news to report. Delta is developing an age-friendly city initiative to improve the livability for older persons while providing hope for younger generations to age in their community.
A significant challenge is outdated long-term care homes that are need of replacement without the capital funding to reinvest in new modern living designs that create a home living environment rather than a traditional institutional nursing home.
Along with capital investments to replace outdated infrastructure, there is a need to invest in more comprehensive programs and services for older persons as the key ingredients to their well-being. The impact of these investments is especially true for those who continue to live at home.
Older persons who live in Ladner, North Delta and Tsawwassen should have a robust array of social, health and housing programs and services and available in their community to ensure they can age in place. To remain in their community accessing care, housing and services close to home is critical to avoid moving to a different area where family and friends might have transportation barriers.
What is needed is a commitment, yes from government, but more importantly from your neighbours, local businesses, and community-based organizations to actively support programs and services that help older adults to remain active members of their community.
Dan Levitt/CEO KinVillage