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Cobble Hill wins age-friendly award from province

Gerry Giles, Cobble Hill Area C director for the CVRD, Jodi Mucha, executive director of B.C. Healthy Communities Society, Michelle Stilwell, B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for healthy living and seniors, and CVRD chairman Rob Hutchins pose with the poster given to the South Cowichan Seniors Group for its work in determining the needs of Cobble Hill seniors. - Kathy Santini
Gerry Giles, Cobble Hill Area C director for the CVRD, Jodi Mucha, executive director of B.C. Healthy Communities Society, Michelle Stilwell, B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for healthy living and seniors, and CVRD chairman Rob Hutchins pose with the poster given to the South Cowichan Seniors Group for its work in determining the needs of Cobble Hill seniors.
— image credit: Kathy Santini

If you're a Canadian looking for a community to retire in, you might want to put Cobble Hill on your short list.

On July 28, the community was acknowledged with seven other communities across B.C. as being a leader in recognizing the importance of helping seniors remain independent and active. Anmore, Granisle, Kent, Kitimat, Telkwa, Vancouver and Vanderhoof received the acknowledgement and $1,000 each.

"I know I want all British Columbians to remain healthy and alive for as long as they can," said Michelle Stilwell, B.C.'s parliamentary secretary for healthy living and seniors. "Seniors deserve to feel safe in their communities and free of ageism."

A total of 25 B.C. communities have now received age-friendly recognition.

To achieve the designation, communities must have completed four steps. These include: establishing an advisory committee, passing a local government resolution, conducting an age-friendly assessment and developing and publishing an action plan. Seniors' participation is required and an integral part of the process.

In Cobble Hill, the required report made a number of recommendations, focussing on safety, transportation and housing. Implementation has begun with the creation of a seniors' lunch program, work on a possible seniors' housing development and accessibility improvements for local parks and trails.

Gerry Giles, the Cowichan Valley Regional District's Director for Cobble Hill and a member of the South Cowichan Seniors' Group, said the now twice-monthly lunches started after the assessment documented a strong need for seniors to socialize and be part of a group.

The lunches, which started with a core group of 8 now routinely see 80 people show up.

"The work in Cobble Hill demonstrates a wide-range of actions local government can take to ensure that seniors have safe and accessible services within their communities," Jodi Mucha, executive director for BC Healthy Communities Society said.

To learn more about Age-Friendly BC Communities, visit:  http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=C4F334615D8F4C19A01B9B2DE09B69DE

Sidebar

The following questions can help you determine whether or not your community is an age-friendly place.

- Do older persons have access to social and health services they need to stay healthy and independent?

- Do outdoor spaces and buildings help older persons get around easily and safely and do they encourage active community participation?

- Can seniors travel wherever they want to go in the community, conveniently and safely?

- Do older persons have housing that is safe and affordable and which allows them to stay independent as their needs change?

- Do seniors have opportunities for developing and maintaining meaningful social networks in their neighbourhoods?

- Are public services, the media, commercial services, and faith communities respectful of the diversity of needs' among seniors and willing to accommodate seniors in all aspects of society?

- Do older persons have opportunities to participate in community decision making?

- Do seniors have opportunities to contribute their experience and skills to the community in paid or unpaid work?

- Are seniors aware of programs and services available within their community?

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