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Age-friendly grants benefit B.C. seniors

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:22 PDT, Wed May 24, 2023

Beginning June 1, communities in British Columbia can apply for funding aimed at helping seniors lead independent, active lives.

“As people in B.C. age, our government has a responsibility to make sure seniors age with dignity and respect, and that includes having communities that are age-friendly,” said Minister of Health, Adrian Dix. “I encourage local governments and Indigenous community leaders to apply for a grant that will lead to meaningful improvements locally for seniors.”

By 2031, nearly one-quarter of the province's population will be age 65 or older. The Age-friendly B.C. program is facilitating independent living and community engagement among seniors by providing financial support to local governments and Indigenous communities.

“Age-friendly grants are another way to support our seniors, and our government recognizes the crucial role this program plays,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long-Term Care, Harwinder Sandhu. “The program aligns with our priorities, such as promoting accessibility and inclusion, and is a great opportunity for communities to provide increased supports and connections for their local seniors.”

In 2022, 25 communities received age-friendly grants across both streams. Of the successful communities, 13 were rural and remote, five were new to receiving age-friendly funding and four were Indigenous communities. Age-friendly projects that receive funding range from tailored housing, transportation, wellness, climate and emergency-management strategies and plans for seniors, to inclusive programs, public communications and outdoor spaces, such as parks and nature trails that ensure accessibility and safety for seniors.

“B.C. Healthy Communities Society (BCHC) is excited to build on the momentum of all the local and Indigenous governments that have initiated age-friendly community plans and projects over the past years and share that learning with others across the province,” said Jodi Mucha, executive director, BCHC. “It’s inspiring to see how many communities are committed to proactively planning for their physical and social environments to be conducive and supportive of the aging journey.”

The Age-friendly BC program is a partnership between the provincial government and BCHC, a provincewide not-for-profit organization that facilitates the ongoing development of healthy, thriving and resilient communities.

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