Eighteen B.C. communities, including Cache Creek and Lytton, have received age-friendly community planning and project grants from the provincial government this year.
A total of $342,430 in grants was given out, to help communities carry out planning and projects including a housing study for First Nations Elders, developing social networks, and improving dementia awareness.
The Lytton grant will allow the development of an action plan that will ensure facilities and services are in place within the community so that local seniors and First Nations Elders can remain close to their families as they age.
The Village of Cache Creek received $20,000 to develop an age-friendly community initiative. An action plan will identify specific mental, physical, and social barriers in the existing community infrastructure, with the goal of understanding how age-friendly Cache Creek is. The plan will also determine future actions to effectively respond to an aging population.
“According to the 2011 census, 54 per cent of the population of Cache Creek is over the age of 45,” says Sheila McCutcheon, the village’s chief financial officer (the 2016 census results had not been released when the grant application was made). “And it’s a strategic goal of the village to be responsive to the needs of the community, and create a vibrant community for all who live and do business here.”
By preparing and developing an age-friendly action plan, McCutcheon says Cache Creek will be proactively positioned to assist and support aging adults with maintaining a high quality of life throughout all seasons.
“Our goal is to achieve first-hand knowledge and understanding of the current state of the age-friendly components in Cache Creek.”
Development of the plan will occur through “comprehensive public consultation and engagement with the direct participation of seniors, Interior Health, First Nations, the Chamber of Commerce, and community focus groups,” McCutcheon continues. “We do have different goals we want to achieve to be an age-friendly community, because of the aging population.
“This will be done through consultation and engaging with, and strengthening the voice of, seniors. We want to enhance and diversify the Cache Creek community. Once the plan is in place, it will provide a foundation for applying for grants to achieves strategic priorities and the desired outcomes.”