Hamilton was the first city in Ontario to join the World Health Organization (WHO) Age Friendly Cities Project. This began our journey towards becoming a city for all ages, addressing the needs of our growing aging population–one that we expect to double in size over the next 10 years.
The WHO defines age friendly communities as those with policies, programs, services and infrastructure to enhance quality of life as people age. Age Friendly communities include: flexible and affordable housing choices, safe and walkable streets, access to transportation, essential amenities, healthcare and social services, and meaningful opportunities to engage in community life.
While we tend to relate the term “age friendly” to older adults, we support that what is good for a 1 year old is good for a 121 year old. Age Friendly communities benefit people of all ages.
In 2013, the Age Friendly Hamilton Collaborative engaged older adults, leaders, and decision makers to develop Hamilton’s first Age Friendly Plan. Hamilton’s Plan for an Age Friendly City (2014-2019) includes 7 goals and 101 actions to make greater Hamilton the “best place to . . . age successfully.”
Since developing our Plan 5 years ago, we have learned a lot:
- We can grow from our experiences (positive & negative)
- Our Plan must reflect the diversity of our community
- We cannot do it alone: It is essential that we come together across sectors and without boundaries, working collectively to create positive change. ”Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ¬Helen Keller
We know, from what we heard, that older adult’s needs and priorities vary greatly, based on characteristics like culture, geography, age, gender, sexuality, religion and values. Hamilton’s Age Friendly Plan must include the voices and experiences of ALL older adults, reflective of and celebrating the diversity in our community. We want to hear from you. Beginning in April 2019, we will be reaching out to the community for the planning of Age Friendly Hamilton 2020-2025. There are several ways you can participate including attending a public event, organizing a group discussion, or completing an individual survey.