Ideas flow at summit on aging

News Jun 02, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

There was plenty of “age-friendly” advice offered at the first of eight summits intended to help prepare this area for a dramatic rise in senior-aged residents over the next 15 years.

Ideas ran from marking senior-friendly walking trails in guidebooks to broader philosophical change like reducing reliance on automobiles in favour of more walkable communities. Others like changes to the building code to standardize stairs and licensing scooter users would require action from senior level government.

“I totally am thrilled with the input that I’ve heard,” said host Lucy Marco, president of the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA).

GRCOA and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding a series of summits intended to address the challenges of an aging population and making Brantford, County of Brant, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community. The eight summits mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization. The first summit – outdoor spaces and public buildings – was held in Paris at the Brant Sports Complex on Friday.

“We would love to see (seniors) get the option to feel integrated into the total population and not isolated,” said Sara Staysa, a Paris resident and senior.

“It’s so important today to consider the idea of people aging at home,” said Michelle Connor, community development co-ordinator for the City of Brantford.

“Sometimes it’s not about being able to maintain the home, it’s about not being able to carry the garbage to curb on Fridays,” she said.

Connor raised of the idea of a creating a central bank of people who need services and matching them with young volunteers.

Dave McKee said the challenge the aging population faces is conveying its needs to the next generation of “workers of the world” to make the changes.

“We’ve got to get our message to them,” he said.

Input provided at the first summit will go into a preliminary report to be made public prior to the next summit on July 17.

A final overall report will be completed in the summer of 2017. It will be distributed to all levels of government.

“All of you have an opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the big dream,” Marco said.

As well as offering ideas, participants indentified problems that need to be fixed.

Paris got picked on.

Complaints included a lack of accessibility at many downtown buildings, the challenge of seeing oncoming traffic brought on by angle parking and roads becoming unsafe to cross due to growing traffic volumes.

King Edward Street in front of Queensview retirement home is particularly busy, said Karen Williamson, special projects co-ordinator with GRCOA. “You take life and limb into your hands trying to deal with that.”

More advance green lights and turning lanes would help with managing the heavier traffic volumes, Williamson said.

But her group also said there is too much focus on accommodating vehicles. People can’t walk north out of downtown Paris without running out of sidewalk and no place to cross the street.

“We really need to pay more attention to making spaces pedestrian friendly,” Williamson said.

“When I come to the arena, and I come very often, when I go down the stairway to my seat I take it one step at a time,” said Jim Harder, a retiree and GRCOA board member who suggested standardizing stairs in the building code.

County of Brant Coun. Shirley Simons, the only local politician at the gathering, said it would be valuable for municipal public works and planning staff to attend future summits to hear needs identified by the public.

Another person said more politicians should attend, too.

“I’m very happy with the variety of participants … we have a lot of seniors in the room who are just bringing forward their lived experience, and that is very thrilling to me,” said Kathryn Poirier, GRCOA executive director.

About 35 people attended the summit.

“The next summit is transportation. That’s a hot topic. We think that we’ll have a full house that day,” Poirier said.

 

Ideas

• Mark senior-friendly trails or sections of trail in guidebooks.

• Prune trees so that pedestrians don’t have to duck.

• Give pedestrians longer to cross streets by extending traffic signals.

• Repair uneven sidewalks to make them safer for pedestrians, people with assistive devices and scooter users.

• Standardize ramps with accessible gradients.

• Standardize stairs in the building code.

• Create green spaces in mall parking lots.

• Keep products on shelves within reach for someone in a wheelchair or using a walker.

• Create licensing and training for scooter users.

• Integrate youth with seniors.

• Install one-button door entry to buildings.

• Install accessibility buttons for bathroom doors.

• Place crosswalks in more convenient locations.

• Create special pedestrian-activated crosswalks.

• Build a seniors “campus” with one-stop shopping for goods and services.

• Make signage larger.

• Develop more green spaces to encourage community gardens.

• Allow handicapped drivers to use no parking, drop off or loading zones to park if there are no handicapped spaces available.

• Add a second type of handicapped parking that’s the same size as regular parking spaces for people with a small assistive devices or less severe disabilities.

• Build more public washrooms.

• Improve rural road shoulders to make them safer and usable for recreation such as cycling and walking.

• Consult wheelchairs and walker users as plans are being developed for public spaces and buildings to draw on experience.

Ideas flow at summit on aging

News Jun 02, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

There was plenty of “age-friendly” advice offered at the first of eight summits intended to help prepare this area for a dramatic rise in senior-aged residents over the next 15 years.

Ideas ran from marking senior-friendly walking trails in guidebooks to broader philosophical change like reducing reliance on automobiles in favour of more walkable communities. Others like changes to the building code to standardize stairs and licensing scooter users would require action from senior level government.

“I totally am thrilled with the input that I’ve heard,” said host Lucy Marco, president of the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA).

GRCOA and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding a series of summits intended to address the challenges of an aging population and making Brantford, County of Brant, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community. The eight summits mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization. The first summit – outdoor spaces and public buildings – was held in Paris at the Brant Sports Complex on Friday.

“We would love to see (seniors) get the option to feel integrated into the total population and not isolated,” said Sara Staysa, a Paris resident and senior.

“It’s so important today to consider the idea of people aging at home,” said Michelle Connor, community development co-ordinator for the City of Brantford.

“Sometimes it’s not about being able to maintain the home, it’s about not being able to carry the garbage to curb on Fridays,” she said.

Connor raised of the idea of a creating a central bank of people who need services and matching them with young volunteers.

Dave McKee said the challenge the aging population faces is conveying its needs to the next generation of “workers of the world” to make the changes.

“We’ve got to get our message to them,” he said.

Input provided at the first summit will go into a preliminary report to be made public prior to the next summit on July 17.

A final overall report will be completed in the summer of 2017. It will be distributed to all levels of government.

“All of you have an opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the big dream,” Marco said.

As well as offering ideas, participants indentified problems that need to be fixed.

Paris got picked on.

Complaints included a lack of accessibility at many downtown buildings, the challenge of seeing oncoming traffic brought on by angle parking and roads becoming unsafe to cross due to growing traffic volumes.

King Edward Street in front of Queensview retirement home is particularly busy, said Karen Williamson, special projects co-ordinator with GRCOA. “You take life and limb into your hands trying to deal with that.”

More advance green lights and turning lanes would help with managing the heavier traffic volumes, Williamson said.

But her group also said there is too much focus on accommodating vehicles. People can’t walk north out of downtown Paris without running out of sidewalk and no place to cross the street.

“We really need to pay more attention to making spaces pedestrian friendly,” Williamson said.

“When I come to the arena, and I come very often, when I go down the stairway to my seat I take it one step at a time,” said Jim Harder, a retiree and GRCOA board member who suggested standardizing stairs in the building code.

County of Brant Coun. Shirley Simons, the only local politician at the gathering, said it would be valuable for municipal public works and planning staff to attend future summits to hear needs identified by the public.

Another person said more politicians should attend, too.

“I’m very happy with the variety of participants … we have a lot of seniors in the room who are just bringing forward their lived experience, and that is very thrilling to me,” said Kathryn Poirier, GRCOA executive director.

About 35 people attended the summit.

“The next summit is transportation. That’s a hot topic. We think that we’ll have a full house that day,” Poirier said.

 

Ideas

• Mark senior-friendly trails or sections of trail in guidebooks.

• Prune trees so that pedestrians don’t have to duck.

• Give pedestrians longer to cross streets by extending traffic signals.

• Repair uneven sidewalks to make them safer for pedestrians, people with assistive devices and scooter users.

• Standardize ramps with accessible gradients.

• Standardize stairs in the building code.

• Create green spaces in mall parking lots.

• Keep products on shelves within reach for someone in a wheelchair or using a walker.

• Create licensing and training for scooter users.

• Integrate youth with seniors.

• Install one-button door entry to buildings.

• Install accessibility buttons for bathroom doors.

• Place crosswalks in more convenient locations.

• Create special pedestrian-activated crosswalks.

• Build a seniors “campus” with one-stop shopping for goods and services.

• Make signage larger.

• Develop more green spaces to encourage community gardens.

• Allow handicapped drivers to use no parking, drop off or loading zones to park if there are no handicapped spaces available.

• Add a second type of handicapped parking that’s the same size as regular parking spaces for people with a small assistive devices or less severe disabilities.

• Build more public washrooms.

• Improve rural road shoulders to make them safer and usable for recreation such as cycling and walking.

• Consult wheelchairs and walker users as plans are being developed for public spaces and buildings to draw on experience.

Ideas flow at summit on aging

News Jun 02, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

There was plenty of “age-friendly” advice offered at the first of eight summits intended to help prepare this area for a dramatic rise in senior-aged residents over the next 15 years.

Ideas ran from marking senior-friendly walking trails in guidebooks to broader philosophical change like reducing reliance on automobiles in favour of more walkable communities. Others like changes to the building code to standardize stairs and licensing scooter users would require action from senior level government.

“I totally am thrilled with the input that I’ve heard,” said host Lucy Marco, president of the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA).

GRCOA and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding a series of summits intended to address the challenges of an aging population and making Brantford, County of Brant, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community. The eight summits mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization. The first summit – outdoor spaces and public buildings – was held in Paris at the Brant Sports Complex on Friday.

“We would love to see (seniors) get the option to feel integrated into the total population and not isolated,” said Sara Staysa, a Paris resident and senior.

“It’s so important today to consider the idea of people aging at home,” said Michelle Connor, community development co-ordinator for the City of Brantford.

“Sometimes it’s not about being able to maintain the home, it’s about not being able to carry the garbage to curb on Fridays,” she said.

Connor raised of the idea of a creating a central bank of people who need services and matching them with young volunteers.

Dave McKee said the challenge the aging population faces is conveying its needs to the next generation of “workers of the world” to make the changes.

“We’ve got to get our message to them,” he said.

Input provided at the first summit will go into a preliminary report to be made public prior to the next summit on July 17.

A final overall report will be completed in the summer of 2017. It will be distributed to all levels of government.

“All of you have an opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the big dream,” Marco said.

As well as offering ideas, participants indentified problems that need to be fixed.

Paris got picked on.

Complaints included a lack of accessibility at many downtown buildings, the challenge of seeing oncoming traffic brought on by angle parking and roads becoming unsafe to cross due to growing traffic volumes.

King Edward Street in front of Queensview retirement home is particularly busy, said Karen Williamson, special projects co-ordinator with GRCOA. “You take life and limb into your hands trying to deal with that.”

More advance green lights and turning lanes would help with managing the heavier traffic volumes, Williamson said.

But her group also said there is too much focus on accommodating vehicles. People can’t walk north out of downtown Paris without running out of sidewalk and no place to cross the street.

“We really need to pay more attention to making spaces pedestrian friendly,” Williamson said.

“When I come to the arena, and I come very often, when I go down the stairway to my seat I take it one step at a time,” said Jim Harder, a retiree and GRCOA board member who suggested standardizing stairs in the building code.

County of Brant Coun. Shirley Simons, the only local politician at the gathering, said it would be valuable for municipal public works and planning staff to attend future summits to hear needs identified by the public.

Another person said more politicians should attend, too.

“I’m very happy with the variety of participants … we have a lot of seniors in the room who are just bringing forward their lived experience, and that is very thrilling to me,” said Kathryn Poirier, GRCOA executive director.

About 35 people attended the summit.

“The next summit is transportation. That’s a hot topic. We think that we’ll have a full house that day,” Poirier said.

 

Ideas

• Mark senior-friendly trails or sections of trail in guidebooks.

• Prune trees so that pedestrians don’t have to duck.

• Give pedestrians longer to cross streets by extending traffic signals.

• Repair uneven sidewalks to make them safer for pedestrians, people with assistive devices and scooter users.

• Standardize ramps with accessible gradients.

• Standardize stairs in the building code.

• Create green spaces in mall parking lots.

• Keep products on shelves within reach for someone in a wheelchair or using a walker.

• Create licensing and training for scooter users.

• Integrate youth with seniors.

• Install one-button door entry to buildings.

• Install accessibility buttons for bathroom doors.

• Place crosswalks in more convenient locations.

• Create special pedestrian-activated crosswalks.

• Build a seniors “campus” with one-stop shopping for goods and services.

• Make signage larger.

• Develop more green spaces to encourage community gardens.

• Allow handicapped drivers to use no parking, drop off or loading zones to park if there are no handicapped spaces available.

• Add a second type of handicapped parking that’s the same size as regular parking spaces for people with a small assistive devices or less severe disabilities.

• Build more public washrooms.

• Improve rural road shoulders to make them safer and usable for recreation such as cycling and walking.

• Consult wheelchairs and walker users as plans are being developed for public spaces and buildings to draw on experience.