Age-friendly Peterborough community action plan
In Peterborough, individuals over the age of 65 make up over 20% of the regional population. With an aging population, the need for a community plan addressing seniors’ issues was growing, and in response, the Age-Friendly Peterborough Community Action Plan (‘the Plan’) was created. The Plan outlines four fundamental goals: (1) older adults’ basic needs are met, (2) older adults are able to get around the community, (3) older adults are supported to build and maintain relationships, and (4) older adults have the opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute. The Plan has been up and running since 2017 and as a result, many new projects and programs have been implemented, and further research conducted. For instance, a recreation, leisure, and facilities study was recently undertaken to help figure out how to increase participation in recreational activities from older adults. The study was conducted at city, county, and First Nations scales. Despite a substantial older adult population, the study found that low participation in recreation has contributed to the challenges at Peterborough's three senior activity centres. This information will help shape how Peterborough will address recreation for older adults. Noteworthy projects under the Plan have included: the annual Summit on Aging educational conference, the annual Seniors’ Showcase (seven years running), developing local TV broadcasts on aging, helping to secure a community transportation grant to serve rural and First Nations communities, a walkability assessment program for municipalities, an age-friendly business program, and a navigation project to help older adults find housing and health services.
The impetus for the Plan can be traced back to 2013 when the Peterborough Council on Aging (PCOA) proposed the notion for the development of a community plan in accordance with the World Health Organization's Global Age-Friendly movement. The PCOA was an ad hoc organization made up of local organizations, institutions, businesses, and volunteers all interested in advancing the priorities of older adults. The Plan was made possible largely through the involvement and commitment from these various stakeholders with the financial support secured from external grants and municipal resources.
It was decided by the PCOA that the Plan would be a ‘community plan’, led by the City of Peterborough, with an understanding that a broad community collaboration would be needed to develop and implement it.