FOCUS ON SENIORS: As time goes by

Opinion Oct 28, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

T  he Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) celebrates its fifth anniversary on Nov. 12.

A lot has happened over the last few years.

It all started with the 2008 publication of the MAP – the Master Aging Plan – for the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. The MAP includes 99 recommendations for an age-friendly community. A steering committee, made up of retirees and representatives from several organizations providing services to seniors, oversaw the development of the Master Aging Plan.

In 2009, the steering committee oversaw the prioritization of those 99 recommendations and published implementation recommendations that focused on the three top priorities: transportation, housing and awareness.

The next step was incorporation in 2010. Some members of the steering committee volunteered their services to become founding members of a new non-profit organization, GRCOA.

GRCOA is a planning body responsible for promoting the voice of seniors and their “lived experience” through education and monitoring progress through the Master Aging Plan.

It was decided to have 12 members on the board of directors, with six members being retirees and the other six representatives appointed by partner organizations providing services to all ages in the communities – but to older adults in particular.

Having retirees on the board ensures that the lived experience of aging is always taken into account. Having working partners on the board ensures that experts are available to explain policies, procedures, plans and changes. It has proved to be an effective combination.

In 2013, GRCOA conducted and published an evaluation of results of the implementation recommendations. It was very encouraging to see the progress made by the City of Brantford, the Brant Community Healthcare System and the Grand River Community Health Centre, among others.

This report can be accessed at www.grcoa.ca.  

In 2012, GRCOA introduced the federally acclaimed National Seniors Day on Oct. 1.

In 2013, in celebration of Seniors Day, GRCOA held its first “Workshop on a Bus.”

This event has run successfully for three years now. This year, it was exciting to learn that many other individuals and groups hosted their own celebrations in recognition of this national day.

In 2014, through a pilot project sponsored by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the COMPASS was introduced by GRCOA. This consulting seniors project was led by Paul Scibetta, co-ordinator of volunteers, and a six-member team of seniors trained as “coaches.” Their role was to consult with seniors – one on one – to find out what was on their minds. The final results of those conversations and connections are being tabulated now and a report is to be published by the end of November.  

Board members and staff members continue to spread the message of age-friendliness throughout the community by making dozens of presentations to local service clubs, seniors clubs, retirement communities and other places where seniors congregate.

GRCOA invited former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion to town in June 2015. More than 400 seniors gathered to hear her presentation given in her uncompromising, no-nonsense style.

“I felt like I met royalty”, one participant was heard to exclaim following the event.   

A proud partnership exists with the Brant News weekly newspaper. The “Focus on Seniors” weekly column has spread the mission of an age-friendly community and describes the ways in which retirees are choosing to live out their days.

Working in conjunction with Brant MPP Dave Levac, GRCOA is co-facilitating an age-friendly community summit series.

The summit consists of eight gatherings over a two-year period. To date, three successful gatherings have been held on the topics of outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation and social participation.

On Nov.  20, the fourth gathering will be held at the Brant Sports Complex with the topic of civic participation and employment.

The dialogue at each Gathering has been eye-opening. Many suggestions for change and enhancement have been put forward. Ultimately, the results will be collated into one final report that will be circulated to all three levels of government to inform and educate and to influence positive change.

What will the next five years bring?

One topic under discussion is the creation of an assessment and accreditation program for age-friendly businesses.

Imagine, before entering a business, being able to check to see if it is age-friendly?

Whatever GRCOA will be doing, you can be sure the focus will be on an age-friendly City of Brantford and County of Brant with the input of the lived experience of the residents.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: As time goes by

GRCOA to mark five-year anniversary in November

Opinion Oct 28, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

T  he Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) celebrates its fifth anniversary on Nov. 12.

A lot has happened over the last few years.

It all started with the 2008 publication of the MAP – the Master Aging Plan – for the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. The MAP includes 99 recommendations for an age-friendly community. A steering committee, made up of retirees and representatives from several organizations providing services to seniors, oversaw the development of the Master Aging Plan.

In 2009, the steering committee oversaw the prioritization of those 99 recommendations and published implementation recommendations that focused on the three top priorities: transportation, housing and awareness.

The next step was incorporation in 2010. Some members of the steering committee volunteered their services to become founding members of a new non-profit organization, GRCOA.

GRCOA is a planning body responsible for promoting the voice of seniors and their “lived experience” through education and monitoring progress through the Master Aging Plan.

It was decided to have 12 members on the board of directors, with six members being retirees and the other six representatives appointed by partner organizations providing services to all ages in the communities – but to older adults in particular.

Having retirees on the board ensures that the lived experience of aging is always taken into account. Having working partners on the board ensures that experts are available to explain policies, procedures, plans and changes. It has proved to be an effective combination.

In 2013, GRCOA conducted and published an evaluation of results of the implementation recommendations. It was very encouraging to see the progress made by the City of Brantford, the Brant Community Healthcare System and the Grand River Community Health Centre, among others.

This report can be accessed at www.grcoa.ca.  

In 2012, GRCOA introduced the federally acclaimed National Seniors Day on Oct. 1.

In 2013, in celebration of Seniors Day, GRCOA held its first “Workshop on a Bus.”

This event has run successfully for three years now. This year, it was exciting to learn that many other individuals and groups hosted their own celebrations in recognition of this national day.

In 2014, through a pilot project sponsored by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the COMPASS was introduced by GRCOA. This consulting seniors project was led by Paul Scibetta, co-ordinator of volunteers, and a six-member team of seniors trained as “coaches.” Their role was to consult with seniors – one on one – to find out what was on their minds. The final results of those conversations and connections are being tabulated now and a report is to be published by the end of November.  

Board members and staff members continue to spread the message of age-friendliness throughout the community by making dozens of presentations to local service clubs, seniors clubs, retirement communities and other places where seniors congregate.

GRCOA invited former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion to town in June 2015. More than 400 seniors gathered to hear her presentation given in her uncompromising, no-nonsense style.

“I felt like I met royalty”, one participant was heard to exclaim following the event.   

A proud partnership exists with the Brant News weekly newspaper. The “Focus on Seniors” weekly column has spread the mission of an age-friendly community and describes the ways in which retirees are choosing to live out their days.

Working in conjunction with Brant MPP Dave Levac, GRCOA is co-facilitating an age-friendly community summit series.

The summit consists of eight gatherings over a two-year period. To date, three successful gatherings have been held on the topics of outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation and social participation.

On Nov.  20, the fourth gathering will be held at the Brant Sports Complex with the topic of civic participation and employment.

The dialogue at each Gathering has been eye-opening. Many suggestions for change and enhancement have been put forward. Ultimately, the results will be collated into one final report that will be circulated to all three levels of government to inform and educate and to influence positive change.

What will the next five years bring?

One topic under discussion is the creation of an assessment and accreditation program for age-friendly businesses.

Imagine, before entering a business, being able to check to see if it is age-friendly?

Whatever GRCOA will be doing, you can be sure the focus will be on an age-friendly City of Brantford and County of Brant with the input of the lived experience of the residents.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: As time goes by

GRCOA to mark five-year anniversary in November

Opinion Oct 28, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

T  he Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) celebrates its fifth anniversary on Nov. 12.

A lot has happened over the last few years.

It all started with the 2008 publication of the MAP – the Master Aging Plan – for the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. The MAP includes 99 recommendations for an age-friendly community. A steering committee, made up of retirees and representatives from several organizations providing services to seniors, oversaw the development of the Master Aging Plan.

In 2009, the steering committee oversaw the prioritization of those 99 recommendations and published implementation recommendations that focused on the three top priorities: transportation, housing and awareness.

The next step was incorporation in 2010. Some members of the steering committee volunteered their services to become founding members of a new non-profit organization, GRCOA.

GRCOA is a planning body responsible for promoting the voice of seniors and their “lived experience” through education and monitoring progress through the Master Aging Plan.

It was decided to have 12 members on the board of directors, with six members being retirees and the other six representatives appointed by partner organizations providing services to all ages in the communities – but to older adults in particular.

Having retirees on the board ensures that the lived experience of aging is always taken into account. Having working partners on the board ensures that experts are available to explain policies, procedures, plans and changes. It has proved to be an effective combination.

In 2013, GRCOA conducted and published an evaluation of results of the implementation recommendations. It was very encouraging to see the progress made by the City of Brantford, the Brant Community Healthcare System and the Grand River Community Health Centre, among others.

This report can be accessed at www.grcoa.ca.  

In 2012, GRCOA introduced the federally acclaimed National Seniors Day on Oct. 1.

In 2013, in celebration of Seniors Day, GRCOA held its first “Workshop on a Bus.”

This event has run successfully for three years now. This year, it was exciting to learn that many other individuals and groups hosted their own celebrations in recognition of this national day.

In 2014, through a pilot project sponsored by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the COMPASS was introduced by GRCOA. This consulting seniors project was led by Paul Scibetta, co-ordinator of volunteers, and a six-member team of seniors trained as “coaches.” Their role was to consult with seniors – one on one – to find out what was on their minds. The final results of those conversations and connections are being tabulated now and a report is to be published by the end of November.  

Board members and staff members continue to spread the message of age-friendliness throughout the community by making dozens of presentations to local service clubs, seniors clubs, retirement communities and other places where seniors congregate.

GRCOA invited former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion to town in June 2015. More than 400 seniors gathered to hear her presentation given in her uncompromising, no-nonsense style.

“I felt like I met royalty”, one participant was heard to exclaim following the event.   

A proud partnership exists with the Brant News weekly newspaper. The “Focus on Seniors” weekly column has spread the mission of an age-friendly community and describes the ways in which retirees are choosing to live out their days.

Working in conjunction with Brant MPP Dave Levac, GRCOA is co-facilitating an age-friendly community summit series.

The summit consists of eight gatherings over a two-year period. To date, three successful gatherings have been held on the topics of outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation and social participation.

On Nov.  20, the fourth gathering will be held at the Brant Sports Complex with the topic of civic participation and employment.

The dialogue at each Gathering has been eye-opening. Many suggestions for change and enhancement have been put forward. Ultimately, the results will be collated into one final report that will be circulated to all three levels of government to inform and educate and to influence positive change.

What will the next five years bring?

One topic under discussion is the creation of an assessment and accreditation program for age-friendly businesses.

Imagine, before entering a business, being able to check to see if it is age-friendly?

Whatever GRCOA will be doing, you can be sure the focus will be on an age-friendly City of Brantford and County of Brant with the input of the lived experience of the residents.