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____ Wednesday November 4, 2015 ____

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Aging in KW

The City of Kitchener receives funding to support Age Friendly Communities

Kitchener – The City of Kitchener is one of 56 recipients of the Government of Ontario’s Age Friendly Community Planning Grant. This program is designed to assist municipalities and non-profit organizations to promote healthy and active aging and support older adults in maintaining their independence and having access to the community supports and services they require.

"Our collective challenge is to ensure our communities grow to meet the evolving needs of every person regardless of their age or ability. This is why age-friendly planning is so important and it’s why we are continuing to work with municipalities, seniors’ organizations and other community partners, to help ensure that seniors can participate fully in community life," Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs.

“We’re really excited to have been selected to receive this grant. Kitchener’s population is aging and we want to ensure our city has tools in place to support older adults so that they may enjoy good health and continue to participate fully in this community,” said Berry Vrbanovic, City of Kitchener Mayor.

Over the next 20 months, staff will assemble a steering committee and determine a plan of action. This fall, staff will be recruiting up to four qualified volunteer community members to join the steering committee. The steering committee will consult with the 55+ population to get their input on priorities and areas of concern. That feedback will be considered as staff develops recommendations for council to consider in the spring of 2017.This project will also assist staff with continuing to address and implement the recommendations of the Older Adult Strategy that was created in 2010.

“This project is really a partnership between the city and the community,” said Michael May, City of Kitchener Deputy CAO of Community Services. “There is a lot of great work already identified or underway. It’s important for us to hear from the public what the local concerns are so that we can prioritize based on the community’s needs and can take steps to make sure Kitchener is a great place to age.”

Candidates interested in joining the committee can find more information by visiting www.kitchener.ca/AFC or by calling 519-741-2200 ext. 5081.

Based upon 2011 census estimates, individuals aged 50+ represent 31.1 per cent of Ontario’s population, while those over 65 years represent 12.3 per cent of the population. Projections suggest that by 2031, people over 50 years of age will represent 35.4 per cent of the population in Kitchener. Those over 65 years will represent approximately 20 per cent of the population.

Age-friendly community (AFC) aim to enable older adults to age actively by:

• Recognizing the wide range of capacities and resources among older adults,
• Anticipate and respond to age-related needs and preferences with flexibly,
• Respecting decisions and lifestyle choices,
• Engaging with, and supporting those most vulnerable; and
• Promoting inclusion and contribution in all areas of community life.

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