Town of Brome Lake cer­ti­fied as age-friendly

Sherbrooke Record - - BROMECOUNTY - By Steve Blake

Avol­un­teer com­mit­tee has com­pleted an ac­tion plan 18 months in the mak­ing that is cer­ti­fied by Que­bec’s Mu­nic­i­pal­ité Amie des Aînés (MADA) pro­gram.

The plan aims to en­rich the lives of the Town of Brome Lake’s se­nior pop­u­la­tion. It was launched Thurs­day af­ter­noon, Oct. 4 at a gath­er­ing at the Brome Lake Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

The com­mit­tee formed in Septem­ber 2016 and drew up an in­ven­tory of ex­ist­ing services and re­sources and asked seniors what their needs were.

“The data col­lected led to a three-year ac­tion plan that in­cludes mea­sures to highlight and rec­og­nize the im­por­tant role of seniors in our com­mu­nity,” Elizabeth Dupéré, the MADA com­mit­tee chair­man, wrote.

The com­mit­tee re­ceived fund­ing from the prov­ince’s Min­istère de la famille.

Seniors 65 and older made up 31 per cent of TBL’S pop­u­la­tion in 2016, up from 20 per cent in 2001, ac­cord­ing to a chart pro­vided by the com­mit­tee. That com­pares to 22.8 per cent in the Brome-mis­sisquoi MRC and 18.3 per cent in the prov­ince.

MADA’S ob­jec­tive is to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that al­lows seniors to live with dig­nity with a safe and healthy life­style, to main­tain au­ton­omy, and to be ac­tive in the com­mu­nity. The com­mit­tee laid out plans to im­prove com­mu­nity sup­port and health care services, trans­porta­tion and mo­bil­ity, hous­ing, and re­cre­ation and so­cial in­volve­ment.

The goal of the pro­gram is to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about lo­cal services like trans­porta­tion, Meals on Wheels, home services, re­cre­ation, and health care. It would also im­prove the services of the CLSC, and look into the pos­si­bil­ity of doc­tors mak­ing house calls.

The plan would im­prove ac­cess to services by mak­ing af­ford­able taxi ser­vice avail­able. It would also make seniors feel safer when driv­ing, bi­cy­cling, and walk­ing. It would in­volve ask­ing po­lice to in­crease their pres­ence, im­prov­ing light­ing in some ar­eas of town, cre­at­ing a cor­ri­dor on Knowl­ton Road for pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists, and ex­tend­ing the path on Vic­to­ria and Cen­tre streets to down­town, and mak­ing it ac­ces­si­ble year­round.

In an ef­fort to keep seniors liv­ing at home, the MADA plan would have an out­reach worker avail­able for seniors and es­tab­lish rapid re­sponse plans for emer­gen­cies like storms and power out­ages. The plan would also en­cour­age the de­vel­op­ment of af­ford­able hous­ing, par­tic­u­larly rental units.

The gen­eral ob­jec­tive is to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment in TBL that would main­tain seniors’ qual­ity of life by fa­cil­i­tat­ing leisure ac­tiv­i­ties by mak­ing services avail­able. The MADA plan will also in­volve things like adding benches and drink­ing foun­tains around town, and im­proved light­ing.

The plan en­cour­ages seniors to get in­volved in the com­mu­nity, and to take ad­van­tage of ac­tiv­i­ties. The town will set up a watch­dog com­mit­tee to en­sure that all as­pects of the ac­tion plan are car­ried out.

STEVE BLAKE

Elizabeth Dupéré, the chair­man of TBL’S MADA com­mit­tee, de­scribed the year-and-a-half plan­ning process to a group of seniors Thurs­day at the Brome Lake Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

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