Elgin St. Thomas Age Friendly Community Plan
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 this plan is underway and will be complete by the end of the year. The project is supported by one-time funding from the Government of Ontario 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 hired to facilitate the planning process.
During April and May there were several consultation initiatives to gather community input to the plan such as:
- 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.
- Focus group sessions with seniors and their families at locations across Elgin St. Thomas.
A half-day planning session in May had consultants sharing their findings from the focus groups, surveys, interviews and engaged key stakeholders in creating a vision for the future and developing goals for getting there. It was an interesting and hands-on workshop where participants were directly involved in shaping the new Age-Friendly Community Plan.
A discussion paper describing the emerging plan is being 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.
How Can You Stay Independent?
Make good choices: Your choices affect how you feel, what you can do, and how you live your life!
What is a Fall?
A fall is when you suddenly and not intentionally land on the ground or floor or some other lower level with or without an injury. You could even bump against a wall. (Canadian Falls Prevention Curriculum Education 2012).
Have you had a slip or trip? Did you catch yourself before you fell to the ground or lower level? Then you had a near fall. Near falls are important. Why?
Near falls can cause injury AND are a warning sign that something may by wrong.
Talk to your doctor about any slip, trip or fall even if you did not hurt yourself. Most falls are predictable and preventable. Falls are not a normal part of aging.
What can happen from One Fall?
- Pain and suffering from physical injury
- Loss of mobility and independence
- Increased dependence on others
- A higher chance of going into a nursing home
- Isolation from others
- Fear of falling
- Loss of confidence
- A decrease in daily and social activities
- Increased chance of future falls
- Changes in how you live
- An increased risk of an early death
- One in three persons over the age of 65 is likely to fall at least once each year
- Seniors who fall are more likely to require hospitalization
- Falls are the direct cause of 95% of all hip fractures leading to death in 20%