By Sean Meyer
In June 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) named London as one of the world’s most age-friendly communities.
As impressive as that status might be, it doesn’t mean there isn’t still work to be done to make London even more age friendly. And that is where the City of London is hoping its residents will get involved.
“What we are trying to do is have residents come forward to be part of a task force to help make London more age-friendly,” said Lynne Livingstone, the city’s director of neighbourhood and children services. Photo courtesy: Age-friendly Communities
One of London’s responsibilities under the WHO designation is to develop a three-year action plan that will see London focus attention on eight key areas. These areas include outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community support and health services.
Livingstone said those different areas form a pretty all-encompassing list. However, she added London already has a lot going on in those areas.
“We want this group of folks to come together to say what more do we need to do to make London as age-friendly as it can be.”
The task force, Livingstone said, will spend 10 months from September 2011 through June 2012 coming up with the action plan.
“What we want to do is have residents in London develop that plan,” Livingstone said. “So we have put out a call for folks to come forward and say whether they would like to be part of the task force to make London more age-friendly.”
Participation on the Age Friendly London task force is open to anyone. Livingstone said that whether someone is young or old doesn’t matter. But what the city is looking for are people who will make a commitment to the process.
“You could be someone looking forward to retirement, you could be an older adult, you could be a caregiver, or you could be someone who has an aging parent. Anyone is welcome,” Livingstone said. “If someone was in their 20s wanted to take part, that would be cool too. This is about trying to create a city that is great for older adults and is therefore great for everyone.”
The city is looking for what Livingstone calls a “broad spectrum of people,” who are committed to working collaborative over the 10-month period to pull together the steps — over the next several years — that will make London an even more age-friendly city.
Those who are interested in joining the task force are asked to contact Kim Scott no later than Aug. 26. Scott can be reached by phone at 519-661-2500, ext. 5739 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The city has also set up an Age Friendly London link on its website, www.london.ca\agefriendly.
“We are really excited about moving forward, about having a group of residents come together to start talking about this. Building a city that is friendly for older adults creates a community that is age-friendly for everyone,” Livingstone said. “We want London to be a place that encourages active aging, presents and optimizes opportunities for health, participation, security, and is an all-around enhancement of life.”© Metroland 2011
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