Getting older: SD&G prepares for older population

South Glengarry GM of Community Services speaks Friday, June 3, 2016 at the SD&G Summit about making the townships age-friendly communities. The township will be adopting its plan later this month. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

ALEXANDRIA – If South Glengarry’s census data is any indication, SD&G townships need to be prepared to help older residents access services.

South Glengarry General Manager of Community Services, Joanne Haley, presented her township’s work on making the municipality an “age friendly” community during the SD&G Summit in Alexandria.

Older adults are considered older than 55.

In South Glengarry’s case, that was over 37 per cent of the population. Haley said South Glengarry was able to access up-to-date projections from Statistics Canada on the yet-to-be-released 2016 census data along with data from a county council demographic study and found that number has grown to 40.6 per cent.

The township received a grant from the Ontario government in June 2015 of $23,500 and work began with a consultant in September 2015 to make the township more “age friendly.”

Two SD&G municipalities – South Glengarry and the City of Cornwall – were the only ones to receive money from the Ontario government.

With people living longer, older people have the same needs as younger people but need more access to health care and social services, transportation housing safety and social networks, Haley explained.

The township did a lot of community outreach, including four community meetings a distributing over 800 surveys.

The work ended up with a Age Friendly Community Action Plan, which Haley said will go for final approval to South Glengarry council on June 27, 2016

“We need to better implement our accessibility plan…we understand what seniors’ needs are,” Haley said.

Haley said they will have to go back to the province for implementation funding, possibly in 2017.