The City of Summerside has been accepted as a member of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.
Work is now underway to receive official certification from the World Health Organization.
This particular program will allow Summerside access to an international network of aging experts and the latest research and information on age related issues.
This recent initiative met with some criticism in the public forum.
There is a sense that city officials are putting all of their efforts toward attracting the senior population to Summerside and not making the same effort to bring young families and individuals to the community.
This opinion is misguided.
The city is not just focusing its efforts to attract seniors to the community as has been expressed by some members of the public, but rather to bring all age groups into Summerside. Hence the term “age-friendly” as opposed to “elderly-friendly.”
To join the network, the city would need to develop an assessment of the age-friendliness of the municipality in areas of outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information and community support and health services.
Improvements in these areas would benefit all ages in the community.
Barrier-free buildings and streets provide better mobility to everyone, young and old, abled or disabled.
More secure neighbourhoods permit children and older people to feel more secure and confident when outside and lead to more participation in physically active leisure and social activities. And, in turn, create healthier individuals in all age categories.
Older people, whether termed senior or elderly, are a benefit to the community. The City of Summerside has thrived on its strong base of volunteers, many of who are “older”. By their longevity alone, the have the ability to provide the community with the benefits of their life long experiences.
Local economies benefit because many older adults have disposal incomes.
This project would help citizens recognize older adults as assets to the community rather than as liabilities.
Strong communities are a combination of both young and old. Each plays a vital role in the community’s social fabric.
The move by the city makes sense. Anything that improves life in the city is a positive move.