Senior advisory committee gets Tiny a LAP ahead of the rest

·4 min read

Tiny seniors should prepare to take a victory lap upon completion of their victory LAP.

A local aging plan (LAP) scorecard was presented to Tiny Township council at a recent committee of the whole meeting, as the culmination of five years of effort by the senior advisory committee (SAC).

SAC chair Christine Greer presented the annual report and update, beginning the discussion with a proclamation.

“We did it,” Greer exclaimed with pride. “We finished all the tasks required to complete the LAP. It is time to celebrate this accomplishment for Tiny Township, and for the seniors living in the township which includes approximately 8,765 persons that are 55 years and older.

“This accomplishment should be shouted out to all four corners of this province. Tiny seniors, it is time to brag: we ain’t so ‘Tiny’ when it comes to our seniors.”

Through the World Health Organization (WHO), a 2007 global age-friendly cities guide provided communities with a framework of eight interconnected domains supporting healthy aging. The domains are: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health services.

“Because of the completion of the LAP,” Greer explained, “we are seeking age-friendly designation for Tiny; this application is through the WHO, as approved by this council. In other words: if granted by WHO, our Tiny community will be a great place to grow old in – for some of us, we already know this by living here.”

The LAP was developed in 2017 following a Tiny seniors community consultation process and external consulting forum, with the SAC advising council on all well-being and quality of life matters for seniors. In 2020, a liaison from the accessibility advisory committee (AAC) was added as a voting member to the SAC.

Greer was accompanied by fellow SAC members, Brian Emond and Lynn Moon, to present a scorecard noting the key achievements and next steps which would provide a guide for the work to be continued in the next term of council. Many achievements and next steps to take overlapped through the scorecard, strengthening their importance for success of the project.

Affordable housing and associated contributions were recognized, with next steps including explorations into grants, networking, and education of home sharing and other strategies. Communications and information involved a bilingual directory of senior services every two years, and many inclusions into the Tiny Township website; further efforts will include more technological introduction as well as a reconnection to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Involvement of civic participation through volunteer programs were noted, and it was recommended that seniors in all aspects of the region would be explored. Outdoor spaces and buildings, meant to ensure infrastructure is consistent with the needs of older adults while engaging that same demographic, involved many accessible physical areas installed at township beaches and parks, as well as programs to aid seniors; more of the same was recommended to reach more residents.

The LAP report received large thanks from members of Tiny council.

Coun. Gibb Wishart congratulated the members of SAC on the accomplishment, praising “young whippersnappers” like Coun. Cindy Hastings for providing “a level of energy” onto the committee.

Hastings praised Greer, Emond and Lynn along with the other committee members: Barbara Holloway, Elaine Stephenson, Barbara Willis, and Richard Gould from the AAC. Fellow Tiny staff resources included Raney Jansma and Bonita Desroches.

“I’m so grateful and proud of our (SAC) and the Township,” said Hastings. “We’re miles ahead of lots of other communities in our area, and it’s due to this group.”

Mayor George Cornell noted the leadership, passion and commitment by the SAC to carry on the momentum into the next term of council, along with new challenges.

“Being a qualified senior myself,” Cornell added, “it is all about engagement, activity, and participation.”

An Accessibility and Senior Symposium is scheduled for June 1, which will include an update on the LAP as well as a presentation of the Senior of the Year Award. Registration information can be found on the senior symposium page of the township website.

The full senior advisory committee local aging plan update, achievements, next steps, and scorecard can be viewed within the agenda page located on the Tiny Township website.

Further information on the local aging plan can be found through the senior services section of the Tiny Township website.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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