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City Scene: Looking out for our seniors’ future

Coun. Derek Dang weighs in on city's efforts to promote healthy ageing
Derek Dang
Derek Dang, city councillor. Photo by Richmond First.

Recently, it has been reported that there are now more seniors in Canada than there are people under the age of 15. 

Quite a contrast from when I was a youth — we baby boomers out-numbered the older generation by a wide margin. 

As time has passed, my friends, peers and I are now all good standing members of the aged 55-plus, and we can be labelled seniors-in-training. And there are a lot of us.

The City of Richmond has acknowledged that its seniors population will significantly increase over time, and with it, we want to ensure we continue to offer responsive services and programs that are meaningful, appropriate and inclusive for this diverse population. 

To address seniors’ evolving needs, we are updating the Seniors Service Plan, which will be in effect until the year 2020. 

This is a comprehensive review of the 2008-2012 Older Adults Service Plan and it builds on the achievements accomplished to-date. 

This new plan will refine and renew the city’s decision-making framework and will be in effect from 2015-2020.  

Simply, the city recognizes the fact that active ageing helps encourage longevity and a better quality of life. Additionally, inclusiveness and connectivity in one’s community is highly coveted. 

While the city is officially age-friendly, we continue to seek ways to increase the number of programs and policies that will enhance liveability for our senior citizens. 

Towards that goal, we’ve consulted with the public over the past year to support the development of the plan — we’ve heard from seniors, their families, community associations and non-profit agencies. 

We also formed a joint Older Adult Service Plan Update/Age Friendly Assessment and Action Plan Steering Committee last year which comprises a number of the different stakeholders throughout the city to provide guidance to the development of the plan.

Our aim is to support healthy and active ageing — working to bridge access to innovative care support and supporting seniors’ access to information, resources, services and programs. 

Many seniors choose to access services through their local community centres and community associations and it is our goal to have a consistent and coordinated service delivery model. 

There will be a city objective to have well trained city staff, community partners and volunteers able to service our seniors.

As you may know, for several years running, world health organizations have identified Richmond as a community where people live longer. 

According to a recent report by Statistics Canada, people in Richmond still have the greatest life expectancy in Canada. 

With this in mind, we are proud to focus significant efforts to address the needs of our seniors from a perspective of having a healthy choice of programs designed for our seniors and our 55-plus seniors-in-training.

Watch for the plan later this fall.

Derek Dang is a City of Richmond councillor

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