Of­fi­cials walk­ing the rounds to find haz­ards, poor ac­ces­si­bil­ity

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY -

Today mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers will walk a mile in se­niors’ shoes.

Mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials in Pic­tou County com­mu­ni­ties will meet with mem­bers of the Pic­tou County Ag­ing Well To­gether coali­tion to walk where se­niors walk ev­ery day, ac­cess­ing the ser­vices, prod­ucts and pro­grams they need.

The goal of the walk is to help them think about po­ten­tial haz­ards and trouble spots that may cause falls and other bar­ri­ers that may pre­vent res­i­dents from be­ing in­cluded and en­gaged in their com­mu­ni­ties and from se­cur­ing what they need to en­sure a good qual­ity of life on a daily ba­sis said Brenda MacKin­non, Com­mu­nity Links re­gional co-or­di­na­tor. To help them con­nect more fully with these chal­lenges, each mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cial will be us­ing an as­sis­tive de­vice like a cane, a walker or a wheel­chair.

Walks will be­gin at 10 a.m. in Stel­lar­ton, Westville, New Glas­gow, Tren­ton, and Pic­tou.

Be­gin­ning with their mu­nic­i­pal build­ing/hall, and us­ing an age­friendly check­list they will tour their com­mu­nity us­ing an ac­ces­si­bil­ity lens.

The ini­tia­tive is to cre­ate aware­ness, said MacKin­non, who sup­ports the ef­forts of the Pic­tou County Ag­ing Well To­gether coali­tion. The coali­tion is made up of se­niors and se­nior-serv­ing mem­bers who want to raise aware­ness, take ac­tion, and cre­ate change to en­sure that com­mu­ni­ties elim­i­nate slip, trip and fall haz­ards and work to­ward in­clu­sive, age-friendly com­mu­ni­ties.

Once the com­mu­nity walk­a­bouts are com­pleted, par­tic­i­pants will be in­vited back to the New Glas­gow Po­lice Depart­ment’s Danny MacLeod Com­mu­nity Room for re­fresh­ments and re­flec­tions on what they ob­served dur­ing their walks.

MacKin­non be­lieves it is par­tic­u­larly timely con­sid­er­ing the pas­sage of Bill 59.

Un­der the act, gov­ern­ment will work with per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, and the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors to cre­ate six stan­dards for an ac­ces­si­ble Nova Sco­tia. The stan­dards will be in the ar­eas of goods and ser­vices, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, pub­lic trans­porta­tion and trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture, em­ploy­ment, ed­u­ca­tion, and the built en­vi­ron­ment, which in­cludes build­ings, rights-of-way and out­door spa­ces.

“This will help them look at ac­cess is­sues,” she said.

Fall pre­ven­tion Novem­ber is Falls Pre­ven­tion month across Canada. Each year, one out of ev­ery three se­niors will fall. Ninety-five per cent of all hip frac­tures are caused by falls.

In Canada, the di­rect health care costs for se­niors who had fallen to­taled $2 bil­lion an­nu­ally. Those in hos­pi­tal for a fall re­main there nine days longer than for any other cause.

In Nova Sco­tia in 2010, falls among se­niors cost the health care sys­tem $244 mil­lion in both di­rect and in­di­rect costs.

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