ARCHIVED: Section IV: Age-Friendly Rural and Remote Communities – Checklist of Age-Friendly Features
1. Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
Sidewalks, Pathways and Trails
- Sidewalks, pathways and trails are well-maintained, cleared, non-slip and accessible.
- Sidewalks are continuous, with low curbs and can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters.
- Snow removal is prompt and considerate of seniors (e.g., consideration is given to how snow is piled for those who need to get in and out of cars, and that seniors may be in wheelchairs or using scooters).
- Parking lots are well-maintained and cleared of snow and ice.
- Streets are well-maintained.
- Rain shelters are available to support pedestrians.
Public Restrooms and Rest Areas
- Public washrooms are accessible and can accommodate people with a variety of disabilities (accommodations include push buttons, wide doors, hand rails, locks that are easy for those with arthritis to use) and are located at convenient locations with proper signage.
- Accessible benches (the appropriate height for seniors) are located along sidewalks, paths or trails and are spaced at regular intervals.
Safety and Security
- Action is taken to lower crime rate.
- Neighbourhoods and trails are well-lit.
- Traffic volumes are low and/or well-controlled.
- Buildings are accessible and have the following:
- ramps with a slope appropriate for wheelchairs
- fewer stairs to get into buildings and within buildings
- non-slip flooring
- accessible washrooms located on the main floor
- parking that is well-maintained and located near public buildings for easier access
Amenities (Grocery Stores, Churches, Government Buildings, Community Centres)
- Services are grouped together, located in close proximity to where older people live and can be easily accessed (e.g., are located on the ground floor of buildings, include wheelchair ramps).
- Roads are well-maintained, well-lit and are supported by clearly visible signage.
- Traffic flow is well-regulated (especially in summer cottage communities that experience increased traffic in the summer months).
- Flexible rules of the road—speed limit is not enforced (slower), not too many traffic lights, seniors given wide berth on the roads by other drivers.
- Traffic lines on pavement are clear and visible.
- Snow removal of roads and parking areas is prompt.
- Parking lots and street parking are located close to amenities.
- Parking regulations are enforced (preventing people from parking in emergency zones and in disabled parking spaces).
- Drop-off and pick-up areas are clearly marked.
- There are a sufficient number of disabled parking spots.
Community Transportation Services
- Affordable and accessible community transport services (including shuttle vans) are available to take seniors to events, shopping excursions and field trips.
- Volunteer and/or an informal network of drivers are available and compensated (e.g., gas money) for their efforts.
Health Transportation (Including to Larger Centres)
- Accessible transportation services are available to take seniors to and from health appointments (including appointments in larger cities)—this includes boat and air transport from remote communities.
- Accessible transportation for persons with a variety of disabilities is available across the range of transportation services.
- Accessible, affordable and convenient public transportation (buses, ferries, etc.) is available to older adults to conduct their daily activities—to reach such destinations as hospitals, health/community centres, shopping malls and banks.
- Public transportation services are coordinated.
- Services are available throughout the day and evening.
- Taxis are available, accessible and affordable to seniors.
- Information is provided to seniors about the range of transportation services (public and private) available to them, including information on how and where to access them, timetables and cost.
- The use of public and alternative transportation is promoted in the community.
- A range of appropriate and affordable housing options (for sale and for rent) is available and includes apartments, independent living, smaller condominiums and family homes.
- Housing is affordable and includes subsidized housing.
- Home sizes reflect the needs and lifestyles of seniors today.
- Housing is located in close proximity to services.
- Housing is adapted for seniors and those with disabilities.
Aging in Place
- Affordable supports are available to enable seniors to remain at home.
- Assisted living options are available to all.
- "In-between" housing is available (i.e., options between the large family home and the small apartment, but with more assisted living options that can be considered an "intermediary" step).
- "Alert systems" are available for seniors living alone (i.e., systems that alert someone when a senior needs help).
- Affordable long-term care options are available that prevent the separation of families and the need to move out the community.
Maintenance and Modifications
- General maintenance of homes is affordable by seniors on fixed incomes.
- Affordable or free general maintenance (e.g., yard work) is available for seniors.
- Housing is modified for seniors as needed and new housing is built with seniors in mind.
- Housing (including houses and apartments) meets the needs of those with disabilities.
- Housing modifications are affordable, with financial assistance provided in the form of grants and subsidies.
- Information on financial assistance programs for home modifications is readily available and easily accessible by seniors.
- Home insurance is affordable.
4. Respect and Social Inclusion
Respect, Kindness and Courtesy Shown
- Seniors are treated respectfully by the community as a whole—they are addressed using appropriate titles, their input on community issues is sought, their contributions are honoured and their needs are accommodated.
Intergenerational Respect and Interaction
- Community activities bring together different generations—they include pleasure activities (e.g., arts and crafts, etc.) and practical activities (e.g., youth-taught computer courses, "honorary grandparenting" programs).
- Programs are offered to children and youth that focus on how to treat seniors with respect, and to explain what it like to get older.
- Seniors are asked to participate at council meetings and similar activities and are recognized for their contributions.
- Older persons are asked for their input to public issues (at the local and provincial levels).
- Seniors receive "social" visits from members of their community.
Recognition Events or Awards
- Contributions of seniors are honoured in the community through events and/or awards.
- Seniors are "celebrated" through the media (e.g., their stories are documented and shared).
5. Social Participation
Events and Activities
- There is a range of events and activities for seniors of all ages—some are age-specific and others are intergenerational. Activities include physical/recreational activities, spectator sporting events, church and school related events, gatherings with food, etc.
- Activities available include outdoor (e.g., walking) and indoor activities (e.g., bingo, cards, darts, etc.).
- Events and activities are held in locations that are served by affordable and accessible transportation.
- Home visits are provided to those who do not, or cannot, leave their homes.
- A buddy system is set up to include seniors who are not normally active in the community.
- The needs of seniors who are not interested in participating in community life are respected.
Courses, Crafts and Hobbies
- A wide range of courses is accessible and affordable (or free), and courses are offered in convenient locations (e.g., community centre, university) that are served by public transportation.
Affordability and Accessibility
- Activities and events are held in convenient locations and are accessible for all—including those with disabilities.
- Events, activities and cultural events (e.g., music, theatre) are affordable to all seniors.
- Events and activities are intergenerational and designed to appeal to people of different ages and backgrounds.
Promotion of Activities
- Activities are well-publicized to seniors.
6. Communication and Information
- There is regular and reliable distribution of information about events and programs (including contact information) through local government and/or voluntary organizations.
- Information is disseminated/ posted where seniors conduct their daily activities—such as the post office, places of worship, local centres and town halls.
- Local channels (TV and radio) advertise community events and news items of interest to seniors—for example, through "community access channels."
- There is a central directory where older adults can find information about what activities and services are available, and how to access them (including phone numbers).
Interactive Contact (Word of Mouth)
- Important information is disseminated in public forums (including public meetings and information sessions).
- Information to older adults who are socially isolated is delivered by phone, or through personal visits.
- An interactive speaker series is created that delivers important information (e.g., on health issues, protecting against fraud).
- Written communication is clearly printed in large letters and is easy to read, with simple messaging.
- Literacy programs are available.
- Seniors are recruited and used as volunteers as experts, disseminators of information and trainers.
- Access to computers and the internet is available at a local centre open to the public.
- Training courses on new technologies are available and accessible to seniors.
Types of Information
- Information of interest to seniors is disseminated—such as local events (including obituaries), vital information (health, security, etc.), and programs and services that are available to them.
- Seniors’ accomplishments are highlighted occasionally in the media.
7. Civic Participation and Employment Opportunities
- Volunteers are supported in their volunteer work—for example, by providing them with transportation, reimbursing their costs and/or paying them an honorarium.
- A range of volunteer opportunities is available that meets the interests of seniors.
- Volunteering options allow for intergenerational involvement.
- Opportunities for volunteering are flexible (e.g., short-term) to accommodate seniors who travel or have other commitments.
- There is a range of paid employment opportunities for seniors.
- Older adults are fairly compensated for their work.
- Seniors with disabilities are accommodated in volunteer, civic or paid work.
- Transportation is available and accessible to older adults who want to participate in volunteer, civic or paid opportunities.
Encouragement to Participate
- Older adults are encouraged to volunteer and remain engaged in the community by providing them with flexible and accessible opportunities.
- Individuals are approached personally to participate in volunteer activities.
- Older adults expected to use newer technologies in paid, civic or volunteer work are provided with appropriate training.
Recognition and Appreciation
- Older adults are acknowledged for their contributions in volunteer, civic and paid work.
- Older adults are well represented on councils, boards and committees.
8. Community Support and Health Services
Caring and Responsive Professionals
- Physicians are available in the community.
- Public health nurses are available at health centres and to conduct home visits.
- Specialists (including gerontologists) conduct assessments on a regular basis in the community and arrange follow-up with primary care physicians.
Home Health and Support Services
- Affordable and available health and home services are in place and include health, personal care and housekeeping.
- Home supports are available in a timely manner.
- Affordable meal programs are available to all seniors in the community, regardless of their health status.
- Delivery services (groceries, medicines, etc.) or escorted shopping services are available to seniors.
- Delivery of services is well-coordinated (e.g., through a "cluster of care" model).
- Health assessments are conducted during home visits.
Diversity of Health Services and Facilities
- Health care facilities include clusters of services (e.g., doctors, podiatrists, occupational therapists, pharmacists), providing "one stop" health or wellness services.
- Affordable palliative care services are available in the community.
- Specialty services are available in the community, including mental health services, mammogram and diabetes clinics, and cancer care outreach.
Availability of Equipment and Aids
- Medical equipment (including medical alerts) is available through a loan program, at no cost to seniors.
Caregiver Support (Including Respite)
- Caregivers are "given a break" from their responsibilities through programs such as home support and seniors daycare programs.
- Education programs on elder care and similar available services are provided to families who are, or will be, caring for an older adult.
- Older adults are kept well-informed, through a variety of media, of the services that they may be entitled to and how they are accessed.
- A speaker series provides information to seniors on a range of health and wellness topics.
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