Mobilize Canada

Mobilize Canada

February 28, 2012 13:58 ET

A Checklist for Age-Friendly Cities

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 28, 2012) - Is your city's urban design making it difficult for seniors to get around? Or are you fortunate enough to live in an age-friendly city that recognizes older people have unique mobility requirements such as non-slip sidewalks wide enough for wheelchairs and pedestrian crossings with longer crossing times? If your city makes it difficult for you to get around, you should be asking your local city hall for changes, according to Mark Towhey, Director of Policy and Strategic Planning for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

In a checklist developed by the World Health Organization, age-friendly cities plan and implement the following features:

  • Pavements are non-slip, are wide enough for wheelchairs and have dropped curbs to road level
  • Pedestrian crossings are sufficient in number and safe for people with different levels and types of disability, with non-slip markings, visual and audio cues and adequate crossing times
  • Buildings are well-signed outside and inside, with sufficient seating and toilets, accessible elevators, ramps, railings and stairs, and non-slip floors
  • Specialized transportation is available for disabled people
  • Priority parking and drop-off spots for people with special needs are available and respected
  • Home modification options and supplies are available and affordable, and providers understand the needs of older people
  • Sufficient and affordable housing for frail and disabled older people, with appropriate services, are provided locally
  • Venues for events and activities are conveniently located, accessible, well-lit and easily reached by public transport
  • Events are held at times convenient for older people
  • An adequate range of health and community support services is offered for promoting, maintaining and restoring health
  • Health and community service facilities are safely constructed and fully accessible

Creating age-friendly, accessible cities is important because Canada's population is rapidly getting older. In 2012, Canada's largest metropolis, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) will have 820,000 people, aged 65 and up. By 2027, the population of this age group is projected to increase by 76%, reaching 1.4 million people.

"Canadian cities are in the property and public space business. They establish zoning regulations and define standards for public spaces within their boundaries," said Towhey. "Municipal politics is incredibly open, transparent and accessible - far more so than other levels of government in Canada. It's probably the best place to start looking for political support to make changes to public policy about the shape and form of public space."

Full article available at: http://mobilizecanada.50plus.com/uncategorized/829/.

About Mobilize Canada

Launched in 2011, Mobilize Canada is the public facing initiative of the Canadian Orthopaedic Care Strategy Group. This national education and communications program is designed to inform the forty-five age plus public about Canada's mobility crisis, offer practical solutions to maintain mobility and offer options and thinking around change and improvement. The vision is for Canadians to enjoy the benefits and opportunities of aging by minimizing the loss of mobility or functional disability that in turn improves individual and societal well-being and maximizes health system effectiveness and efficiency. A key feature is website which is being developed to act as a communications dissemination hub on mobility information. www.mobilizecanada.50plus.com.

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