County of Simcoe – Age Friendly Communities

What is an “Age-Friendly community?
The Canadian government web site describes it this way:

“In an age-friendly community, the policies, services and structures related to the physical and social environment are designed to help seniors “age actively.” In other words, the community is set up to help seniors live safely, enjoy good health and stay involved.”

An age-friendly community:

• recognizes that seniors have a wide range of skills and abilities;
• understands and meets the age-related needs of seniors;
• respects the decisions and lifestyle choices of seniors;
• protects those seniors who are vulnerable;
• recognizes that seniors have a lot to offer their community; and
• recognizes how important it is to include seniors in all areas of community life.

The World Health Organization says a key strategy to facilitate the inclusion of older persons is to make our world more age-friendly.

“An age-friendly world enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treats everyone with respect, regardless of their age. It is a place that makes it easy for older people to stay connected to people that are important to them. And it helps people stay healthy and active even at the oldest ages and provides appropriate support to those who can no longer look after themselves.”

The County of Simcoe has released framework for building Age-Friendly communities

In mid-February, the County of Simcoe, in a press release, confirmed that the median age of its residents is trending higher. In other words, the population is getting older.

County of Simcoe Warden Gerry Marshall says as the population ages, the county needs to work with communities to make them as age-friendly as possible.

“This is an important document that will guide our strategies and helps shape our communities. We thank the province for providing funding support, our Age-Friendly Steering Committee and our residents for contributing to this vision.”

Simcoe County’s older adult population is expected to double during the next 20 years and the County is taking critical steps to ensure that the region remains a positive, safe and sustainable area for seniors to live and thrive.

Jane Sinclair, General Manager of Health and Emergency Services for the County of Simcoe, recognizes older county residents are remaining active and continue to play key roles in daily activities in their communities.

“Older adults are increasingly living more active, healthy lifestyles and contribute to our growing economy as consumers, employees and entrepreneurs. We are excited to move to the implementation stage and committed to helping our municipalities, businesses and community partners incorporate these positive aging recommendations.”

Following extensive public and stakeholder consultation, research and assessment, the County has released its Positive Aging Strategy. It includes detailed planning framework and recommendations to support regional and municipal governments and businesses in building and strengthening age-friendly communities.

The Positive Aging Strategy builds on the 2017 Age-Friendly Needs Assessment. The Assessment identified high-level regional age-friendly needs, priorities and opportunities, which aligned with the World Health Organization’s eight Age-Friendly dimensions.

The County of Simcoe’s Positive Aging Strategy now provides a framework for implementing key actions, projects and initiatives to support our communities and businesses in fostering positive aging and creating more sustainable strategies that meet the needs of Simcoe County’s aging population.

It also aligns with the County’s Vision of “Working Together to Build Vibrant, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities” and its corporate long-term strategic directions.

In addition to providing a framework for new strategies, the document also outlines objectives to build on and promote the many existing age-friendly programs currently in place throughout the County.

Collingwood’s Balmoral Village Ahead of the Curve

While the County works with its municipalities to plan for accommodating the needs of an aging population, a Collingwood development has already created a template for creative thinking in both design and planning a community within a community where the aging process is not only accommodated but celebrated.

Balmoral Village is the vision of local entrepreneur and developer Thom Vincent.

Vincent is the President, Global Hospitality Inc. and Balmoral Village and is a Collingwood resident who lives the active lifestyle that draws people to our region. He identified a need for a residential development of a different kind.

Ten years in the making, construction continues and the community is now welcoming residents as it springs to life in Collingwood’s west end at Harbour Street and Highway 26.

Balmoral Village is a unique “Age in Place” community. The development’s web site describes the concept as being an innovative vision in holistic, balanced living for forward thinking people in their maturing years.

Balmoral Village offers a variety of housing options including assisted living opportunities. Residents will be able to “smartsize” as they age and require further wellness or medical services.

A large portion of the development is complete and soon construction will begin on condominiums.

When complete, Balmoral Village will accommodate the wants and needs of residents who are 55 years of age and older, right in line with what the County of Simcoe is striving to achieve as outlined in its Age-Friendly Communities report.

You can learn more about Balmoral Village – Balmoral Place Retirement Community by clicking HERE.

You can read more about Simcoe County’s efforts to build age-friendly communities by clicking HERE.

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