FOCUS ON SENIORS: ‘What is it you do exactly?’

Opinion Jan 19, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Grand River Council on Aging is a planning body.

It works behind the scenes, conducting research about aging and seniors. Where appropriate, it facilitates collaboration within the community. The council recognizes its role is sometimes difficult to comprehend. In fact, the GRCOA is often asked, “but what is it you do exactly?”

It was 2014 when things began to gel for GRCOA. Words were sinking in and people were taking notice. Board president Lucy Marco and vice president Jean Kincade had spent years making presentations and talking about the changing demographics for older adults. For some reason, 2014 was the year in which their voices were heard.

Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to why it takes so long for a message to sink in. When the 2008 Master Aging Plan was published, the city council was noting that in the year 2030, people over 55 years of age will represent 35.2 per cent of the total population for the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. That forecast was a fuzzy number far off in the distant future. Now it’s only 15 years away and there’s a sense of urgency about the demographics and about the reality they represent.

Think about it for a moment. If one-third of our population will be older adults and seniors, what programs or services will they need?

As has been said, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

We must plan for this eventuality and we must do it now. And that’s where the Grand River Council on Aging comes in.

With a mission to promote the voices of seniors, the COMPASS pilot project is one way in which to discover what seniors are saying. The project is about consulting with seniors – face to face – to listen to them. With their input, GRCOA can report what the needs are to the community, other organizations, agencies and the municipalities.

The COMPASS will also provide data to facilitate updating the master aging plan on a continuing basis. That strategic plan for an age-friendly community was developed “by seniors for seniors.”

GRCOA continues with its information gathering by going to where seniors are gathering. Examples are participation in the annual CARP Exhibition at the civic centre, as well as presentations to clubs such as Probus, Rotary, Kiwanis, Beckett Adult Leisure Centre, the local seniors club presidents council and to several retirement homes.

The council has been well received and information is being gathered directly from seniors who are willing to tell us their story.

An age-friendly community has been the focus since the master aging plan and its 99 recommendations were published. In October 2014, GRCOA further defined its work with the adoption of the following statement: “The Grand River Council on Aging will provide a voice for seniors that will have influence and impact on planning for an age-friendly community.”

A simple example of an age-friendly consideration is accessibility to a building. Automated doors ease the way for a new mom with a stroller as much as for a senior in a wheelchair. If it works for age five, it will work for age 105.

The most significant new partnership developed in 2014 was the one with the Brant News. Over and over, the council has heard from seniors that they read about GRCOA in the Brant News. Working with this community’s paper has provided a platform upon which to further spread the age-friendly message. It’s impossible to measure the impact but this partnership has generated numerous benefits to the partners and to seniors. GRCOA is grateful to Len Offless and John Zronik at the Brant News for the opportunity and assistance they have provided.

Looking ahead, there are several promising new initiatives in the works for 2015. An example is the development of an age-friendly business plan.

Past successful endeavours will also continue in 2015. GRCOA will participate in the annual CARP Fair in May and will host its third annual Workshop on a Bus in celebration of National Seniors Day on Oct. 1. Stay tuned to this column for more information about upcoming plans and events.

Listening is what the Grand River Council on Aging does. If you would like to share your story or concern, please call the office at 519-754-0777, ext. 438 or ext. 439. And remember, senior voices can make a difference and assist in planning for the future.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: ‘What is it you do exactly?’

Grand River Council on Aging explains its many roles

Opinion Jan 19, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Grand River Council on Aging is a planning body.

It works behind the scenes, conducting research about aging and seniors. Where appropriate, it facilitates collaboration within the community. The council recognizes its role is sometimes difficult to comprehend. In fact, the GRCOA is often asked, “but what is it you do exactly?”

It was 2014 when things began to gel for GRCOA. Words were sinking in and people were taking notice. Board president Lucy Marco and vice president Jean Kincade had spent years making presentations and talking about the changing demographics for older adults. For some reason, 2014 was the year in which their voices were heard.

Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to why it takes so long for a message to sink in. When the 2008 Master Aging Plan was published, the city council was noting that in the year 2030, people over 55 years of age will represent 35.2 per cent of the total population for the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. That forecast was a fuzzy number far off in the distant future. Now it’s only 15 years away and there’s a sense of urgency about the demographics and about the reality they represent.

Think about it for a moment. If one-third of our population will be older adults and seniors, what programs or services will they need?

As has been said, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

We must plan for this eventuality and we must do it now. And that’s where the Grand River Council on Aging comes in.

With a mission to promote the voices of seniors, the COMPASS pilot project is one way in which to discover what seniors are saying. The project is about consulting with seniors – face to face – to listen to them. With their input, GRCOA can report what the needs are to the community, other organizations, agencies and the municipalities.

The COMPASS will also provide data to facilitate updating the master aging plan on a continuing basis. That strategic plan for an age-friendly community was developed “by seniors for seniors.”

GRCOA continues with its information gathering by going to where seniors are gathering. Examples are participation in the annual CARP Exhibition at the civic centre, as well as presentations to clubs such as Probus, Rotary, Kiwanis, Beckett Adult Leisure Centre, the local seniors club presidents council and to several retirement homes.

The council has been well received and information is being gathered directly from seniors who are willing to tell us their story.

An age-friendly community has been the focus since the master aging plan and its 99 recommendations were published. In October 2014, GRCOA further defined its work with the adoption of the following statement: “The Grand River Council on Aging will provide a voice for seniors that will have influence and impact on planning for an age-friendly community.”

A simple example of an age-friendly consideration is accessibility to a building. Automated doors ease the way for a new mom with a stroller as much as for a senior in a wheelchair. If it works for age five, it will work for age 105.

The most significant new partnership developed in 2014 was the one with the Brant News. Over and over, the council has heard from seniors that they read about GRCOA in the Brant News. Working with this community’s paper has provided a platform upon which to further spread the age-friendly message. It’s impossible to measure the impact but this partnership has generated numerous benefits to the partners and to seniors. GRCOA is grateful to Len Offless and John Zronik at the Brant News for the opportunity and assistance they have provided.

Looking ahead, there are several promising new initiatives in the works for 2015. An example is the development of an age-friendly business plan.

Past successful endeavours will also continue in 2015. GRCOA will participate in the annual CARP Fair in May and will host its third annual Workshop on a Bus in celebration of National Seniors Day on Oct. 1. Stay tuned to this column for more information about upcoming plans and events.

Listening is what the Grand River Council on Aging does. If you would like to share your story or concern, please call the office at 519-754-0777, ext. 438 or ext. 439. And remember, senior voices can make a difference and assist in planning for the future.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: ‘What is it you do exactly?’

Grand River Council on Aging explains its many roles

Opinion Jan 19, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Grand River Council on Aging is a planning body.

It works behind the scenes, conducting research about aging and seniors. Where appropriate, it facilitates collaboration within the community. The council recognizes its role is sometimes difficult to comprehend. In fact, the GRCOA is often asked, “but what is it you do exactly?”

It was 2014 when things began to gel for GRCOA. Words were sinking in and people were taking notice. Board president Lucy Marco and vice president Jean Kincade had spent years making presentations and talking about the changing demographics for older adults. For some reason, 2014 was the year in which their voices were heard.

Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to why it takes so long for a message to sink in. When the 2008 Master Aging Plan was published, the city council was noting that in the year 2030, people over 55 years of age will represent 35.2 per cent of the total population for the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. That forecast was a fuzzy number far off in the distant future. Now it’s only 15 years away and there’s a sense of urgency about the demographics and about the reality they represent.

Think about it for a moment. If one-third of our population will be older adults and seniors, what programs or services will they need?

As has been said, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

We must plan for this eventuality and we must do it now. And that’s where the Grand River Council on Aging comes in.

With a mission to promote the voices of seniors, the COMPASS pilot project is one way in which to discover what seniors are saying. The project is about consulting with seniors – face to face – to listen to them. With their input, GRCOA can report what the needs are to the community, other organizations, agencies and the municipalities.

The COMPASS will also provide data to facilitate updating the master aging plan on a continuing basis. That strategic plan for an age-friendly community was developed “by seniors for seniors.”

GRCOA continues with its information gathering by going to where seniors are gathering. Examples are participation in the annual CARP Exhibition at the civic centre, as well as presentations to clubs such as Probus, Rotary, Kiwanis, Beckett Adult Leisure Centre, the local seniors club presidents council and to several retirement homes.

The council has been well received and information is being gathered directly from seniors who are willing to tell us their story.

An age-friendly community has been the focus since the master aging plan and its 99 recommendations were published. In October 2014, GRCOA further defined its work with the adoption of the following statement: “The Grand River Council on Aging will provide a voice for seniors that will have influence and impact on planning for an age-friendly community.”

A simple example of an age-friendly consideration is accessibility to a building. Automated doors ease the way for a new mom with a stroller as much as for a senior in a wheelchair. If it works for age five, it will work for age 105.

The most significant new partnership developed in 2014 was the one with the Brant News. Over and over, the council has heard from seniors that they read about GRCOA in the Brant News. Working with this community’s paper has provided a platform upon which to further spread the age-friendly message. It’s impossible to measure the impact but this partnership has generated numerous benefits to the partners and to seniors. GRCOA is grateful to Len Offless and John Zronik at the Brant News for the opportunity and assistance they have provided.

Looking ahead, there are several promising new initiatives in the works for 2015. An example is the development of an age-friendly business plan.

Past successful endeavours will also continue in 2015. GRCOA will participate in the annual CARP Fair in May and will host its third annual Workshop on a Bus in celebration of National Seniors Day on Oct. 1. Stay tuned to this column for more information about upcoming plans and events.

Listening is what the Grand River Council on Aging does. If you would like to share your story or concern, please call the office at 519-754-0777, ext. 438 or ext. 439. And remember, senior voices can make a difference and assist in planning for the future.