Canada’s aging population challenges the viability of our physical and built environments. To promote seniors’ independence and successful, healthy aging, our communities should be transformed into age-friendly spaces.
Older adults overwhelmingly say they want to maintain their independence as they age.However, many of them experience some type of physical, cognitive or psychological impairment. This lowered ability makes it more difficult for them to navigate barriers in their local neighbourhoods, such as the lack of essential services within a walkable distance.
This video on age-friendly cities demonstrates some of the common challenges faced by seniors who want to stay active in their communities.
Age-friendly communities are designed to help seniors live safely, enjoy good health, stay involved and continue to do the things that are important to them. Staying active helps to promote health and prevents or delays the onset of disease and decline.
Examples of community features that help seniors to stay active include well-lit and well-maintained sidewalks and ramps, crosswalks for slower pedestrians, buildings with automatic door openers, accessible and affordable public transportation,exercise equipment in parks targeted to seniors, and community outreach programs that target isolated seniors and provide opportunities to stay engaged.
The CMA recommends that governments and communities accommodate older Canadians’ needs (recommendation 15) in the design of buildings, walkways, transportation systems and other aspects of the urban environment.