Age- and Dementia-friendly Action Plan

We want to hear your feedback on the draft Age- and Dementia-friendly Action Plan. Please read the summary below, and provide your feedback using the form at the bottom of the page. 

Introduction

Canadians are living longer and healthier than ever before and want to stay well and engaged with their communities in meaningful ways. The Age- and Dementia-friendly Action Plan is the second strategy focused on older adults prepared by the Township since 2014. This updated Plan is being developed to sustain Township actions and programs that help people age in the right place and be connected and active for as long as they choose. In recognition of the increasing number of people living with dementia due to population aging, this updated Plan includes a dementia-friendly perspective.

Age-friendly communities support and enable people to age in the right place with dignity, respect, and independence, and promote the participation of older adults in all areas of community life. People of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds benefit from initiatives that increase safety, accessibility, and social inclusion. Dementia-friendly communities complement age-friendly initiatives by considering the needs of people living with dementia.

Our Vision: The Township of Langley is a community where older adults, people living with dementia, and their caregivers experience connection and inclusion. 

Context

Nearly 24,000 people aged 65 or older are living in the Township of Langley, making up 16.8% of the total population. By 2030, this age group is projected to increase to 38,000 (21.6%); by 2046, it is expected to increase to 52,500 (23.9%).

There are approximately 1,800 people living with dementia in Langley; these numbers are projected to rise to an estimated 3,200 people in 2030. Most people with dementia live at home in the community.

The Township has been preparing for an aging population through a number of recent planning and engagement initiatives. Most notably, the Township developed its first Age-friendly Strategy in 2014. Based on the work undertaken as part of the Age-friendly Strategy, the Province of BC has formally recognized the Township as an age-friendly community. The new Age- and Dementia-friendly Action Plan will build on our work to date.

About Dementia

Dementia is an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain, including memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Aging does not cause dementia. While mild changes in cognition may come with aging, dementia is not a normal part of the aging process. However, age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, though some younger people, in their 40s or 50s, may be diagnosed with early onset.

Creating the Action Plan

The work to develop the Age- and Dementia-friendly Action Plan started in late 2020 and has benefited from a range of inputs. It is anticipated that a final draft Action Plan will be presented to Township Council in late 2021.

Action Plan Inputs:

Age and Dementia-friendly Action Plan

What We’ve Heard and Learned so Far

Things that make Langley Township a great community for older adults:

  • Enjoyable parks and trails
  • Accessible public buildings and businesses
  • Feeling safe
  • Social connections with friends and family
  • Community centres and libraries
  • Recreation and fitness programs
  • Feeling welcomed and respected

Opportunities moving forward:

  • Build on existing Township initiatives (e.g. park and trail signage and accessibility features)
  • Enhance awareness and training related to aging and dementia
  • Expand intergenerational and multi-cultural approaches (e.g. internet buddies and diverse food and/or music events)
  • Strengthen collaborative relationships to help address challenges beyond Township mandate (e.g. public transit and healthcare services)
  • Improve access to age- and dementia-friendly information and resources

Roles and Responsibilities

Building an age- and dementia-friendly community is a shared responsibility of all levels of government and requires involvement from numerous organizations, groups, and individuals. As a local government, the Township’s role includes delivering recreation and culture programs, managing public parks, trails, and streets, and convening diverse organizations to foster collaborative action. Notably, the Township is not responsible for delivering or funding public transit or healthcare services.

Draft Priorities and Actions

The draft Age- and Dementia-friendly Action Plan establishes 5 priority areas and 37 related actions. The draft actions build on and complement initiatives the Township has completed or initiated under the 2014 Age-friendly Strategy (see the 2019 Progress Report for more detail).

Everyone has opportunities to participate in community decision-making. Older adults also have opportunities to share their experiences and skills with the community through paid and volunteer work.

Draft Actions:

A. Recognize and support older adults who continue to work.
B. Engage older adults early and throughout community processes. Include those with diverse needs and health/mobility conditions.
C. Continue to provide leadership and volunteer opportunities for all ages and abilities.
D. Facilitate connections among volunteers to address barriers to participation, such as transportation.
E. Seek ways to strengthen the use of an age- and dementia-friendly lens throughout planning, communication, and engagement.
F. Continue to administer and promote the Age-friendly Business Recognition Program and seek opportunities to strengthen dementia-friendly components.
G. Provide opportunities to share skills and stories across generations.

Communication tools, content, and activities are respectful and accessible. Information about programs and resources to help people meet their needs is available, appropriately designed, and effectively delivered.

Draft Actions:

A. Work with community partners to expand cross-sector collaboration for communication, education, training, and service delivery.
B. Develop processes with community partners to ensure BC211 is regularly updated.
C. Review and explore additional opportunities to enhance accessibility features for accessing digital resources.
D. Convene community partners to explore opportunities to enhance the promotion of low-cost local events.
E. Reduce stereotypes, myths, and stigma related to aging and dementia.
F. Reinforce diversity, capacity, and value of older adults’ lifelong contribution to community.
G. Train staff and volunteers on age- and dementia-friendly, integrated with existing initiatives, where possible.
H. Promote age- and dementia-friendly resources, services, and programs, including Alzheimer Society of B.C.
I. Ensure comprehensive and consistent use of ageist—free language in communications.
J. Implement consistent symbols/icons across signage.
K. Strengthen communication and promotion of parks, trails, and navigation resources.
L. Address technology barriers through training and by offering non-tech communication and participation (e.g. sustain provision and use of print resources, where appropriate.)

Outdoor and indoor environments are designed to help people get around safely and easily, encourage active healthy living, and provide opportunities for social interaction. Housing and transportation options allow older adults to age in the right place.

Draft Actions:

A. Continue to advocate for better transit options and routes.
B. Convene residents, including youth, seniors, and people with disabilities, local businesses, and TransLink to share information and identify opportunities to improve transit services, including HandyDART.
C. Integrate age- and dementia-friendly lenses as part of the Transportation Strategy update with a view of strengthening accessibility features throughout the community.
D. Assess the availability of public washrooms and seek opportunities to better promote the location of existing facilities (e.g. third party mapping applications).
E. Continue to develop plans and policies to support availability of appropriate, affordable, and accessible housing.
F. Continue to assess Township buildings for accessibility, explore opportunities to consider cognitive accessibility, and integrate recommendations as part of facility improvements.
G. Strengthen wayfinding resources and signage.
H. Explore opportunities to provide quiet spaces in Township buildings.

Older adults have access to the social and health services they need to stay healthy and independent, with appropriate, affordable support as needs change.

Draft Actions:

A. Advocate for affordable non-medical services (i.e. housecleaning, home, and yard maintenance).
B. Advocate for financial support for caregivers.
C. Convene health authority, social service organizations, and community members to share information and explore opportunities for more effective collaboration with referrals, programs, and access to services including day programs, home and dementia support, caregiver support, respite care, and residential care.
D. Collaborate with health authority and organizations to deliver education and resources about aging, dementia, and caregiving.
E. Explore opportunities to better include people living with dementia in recreation programs.

Older adults have opportunities to develop and maintain their social networks. Programs and services are developed with consideration of their needs and preferences.

Draft Actions:

A. Explore opportunities to enhance rural area access to supports and services.
B. Continue to integrate or retain historical landmarks or references in new developments wherever possible.
C. Map and inventory social infrastructure (i.e. community gathering places) with a view of identifying gaps and opportunities.
D. Continue to make grants available to community non-profit groups that organize age-friendly events that strengthen social interaction and participation.
E. Increase opportunities and support for building and strengthening social connections; including intergenerational connection (e.g. through new community-based or recreation programs or integrated within existing programs.)

Share Your Feedback

Provide your comments on the draft Age- and Dementia-friendly Action Plan using the form below. If you have questions and would like a response from Township staff, please include your phone number or email address in the form. Feedback on this form will be accepted until October 24.

 

Next Steps

Following the public feedback period, a final draft of the Age- and Dementia-friendly Action Plan will be prepared for Council’s consideration, currently anticipated in late 2021. Based on Council’s direction, implementation of the new Age- and Dementia-friendly Action Plan would follow.

More Information
Community Development Division 
socialplanning@tol.ca
604-533-6034