Officials walking the rounds to find hazards, poor accessibility
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.