The Elgin St. Thomas Age-Friendly Steering Committee is developing a community plan for residents of Elgin County and the City of St. Thomas. An Age-Friendly community is one where policies, services and structures related to the physical and social environments support and enable older residents to lead healthy, active lives and stay involved in their communities. Topics of particular interest are outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social and recreational opportunities, health care and community life
Work on the plan is underway and will be complete by the end of the year. The project is supported by one-time Ontario government funding received by Elgin St. Thomas Public Health related to the agency’s Healthy Communities mandate. It is being led by a Steering Committee with representatives from Elgin County, the City of St. Thomas, service providers and seniors. A consulting group, Shercon Associates Inc., has been engaged to facilitate the planning process.
During April and May there will be several consultation initiatives held to gather community input to the plan:
• Interviews with local officials, key service providers and other community leaders
• An on-line survey of individuals, organizations and groups providing services to Elgin St. Thomas seniors
• A survey of the public seeking views on services and supports for seniors. Questionnaires may be picked up at libraries, recreation centres and municipal offices or can be completed on-line https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ESTSCM
• Focus group sessions with seniors and their families at locations across Elgin St. Thomas. Specific times and locations will be announced shortly.
All seniors, family members, service providers and interested members of the community are invited to a half-day planning session and working lunch on Monday morning, June 5 at the Elgin St. Thomas Public Health offices in St. Thomas. The consultants will be sharing their findings from the focus groups, surveys and interviews and engaging stakeholders in creating a vision for the future and developing goals for getting there. This will be an interesting and lively hands-on workshop where participants will be directly involved in shaping the new Age-Friendly Community Plan. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-631-9900 ext. 1254.
Following the forum a discussion paper describing the emerging plan will be widely circulated over the summer months to gather further input. In September a follow-up meeting will be held with stakeholders to finalize the goals and identify action for moving forward.
The Elgin St. Thomas Age Friendly Community Plan will be a living document that serves as a lens for future planning and a template for ongoing community relationship building and collaborative planning. It will draw clear linkages to other municipal and community planning initiatives and forge vital partnerships between local agencies, community groups, service providers, the City and County, funders and seniors and their families.
Please get involved in this important project and have a say in your future.