The City of Miramichi is embracing its aging population and recognizes the golden opportunity it presents.
According to the 2016 census, 23.8 per cent of Miramichi’s population is 65 years of age and over and that percentage will climb as baby boomers age.
“The skills, abilities and value that these people contribute to our community as leaders, mentors, family members, volunteers, employees, care-givers and more is vital and immeasurable,” says Adam Lordon, Mayor of Miramichi. “We want all our residents to lead healthy and active lives and stay involved in their community,” he added.
As a way to do that and benefit from the aging trend, in April 2017, Miramichi city council adopted a motion to formally join the global movement to become an age-friendly community.
In August 2017, Moncton became the first New Brunswick community to receive an Age-Friendly Community designation and approximately 21 other communities throughout New Brunswick, including Miramichi, are working toward the designation.
An age-friendly community supports the values associated with active aging because it leads to a better life. People who lead an active life are more likely to have good health and independence, participate in and contribute to their community and have social, financial and physical security.
An age-friendly initiative meets the demands of the aging population and promotes active living by seniors while meeting its community vision for all ages.
Appointed by city council, the Age-Friendly Community Advisory Committee will develop a community based action plan to provide practical, cost effective actions and recommendations for a valued, respected, engaged and growing senior population.
The age-friendly initiative focus on eight dimensions: outdoor spaces; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health service.
“We believe that by creating a more age-friendly environment that seniors will be more engaged and involved. When this happens, residents of all ages will benefit from their experience, wisdom and knowledge. It’s a win-win for people of all ages, says Lordon.
The Age-Friendly Community Advisory Committee’s first mandate is to evaluate the current age-friendly conditions in Miramichi. By engaging seniors and focusing on the eight dimensions, the advisory committee will identify what is preventing seniors from realizing their full potential.
One way this information will be collected is through a survey which will be available to every resident of Miramichi who is over the age of 55 years.
These and other findings will be the basis of an action plan to make Miramichi more age-friendly.
“We have embraced that the faces of Miramichi and the rest of Canada are changing. The population is aging and we believe that Miramichi is better with age. If Miramichi can create an environment which includes accessible infrastructure and services, active engagement and respect for seniors then Miramichi will thrive and flourish,” Lordon added.
The age-friendly strategy was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 2000s to meet the demands of the accelerated aging of the world population. It encourages communities to promote the active participation of their seniors and to achieve a community vision for all ages.
Submitted by: Miramichi Age-Friendly Community Advisory Committee