MDB Insight Blog

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How to Support Age-Friendly Communities

The World Health Organization defines an age-friendly community as one that enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities, while being treated with respect. Like all of us, seniors want to stay connected to those they love, and remain active. Some may require extra support as they age.

How does your community provide age-friendly supports?

The Fougère Report, released in May of 2018 to examine the conditions of Ottawa’s long-term care facilities, found that the working conditions were very challenging and violence and emotional abuse toward seniors was common. Ottawa’s study serves as a wake-up call to all other communities. The Baby Boomer generation is now 54 to 72 years old, and life spans are continuing to increase. As the population ages, communities must address the gaps in services delivered to those in nursing and long-term care homes, as well as the more independent who may require home-based personal care, assistance, or delivery services.

Improving municipal services is always a balancing act between what citizens are asking for and what the budget can accommodate. It’s no different when assessing the services found in age-friendly communities. Real-time data from your residents, combined with budgetary constraints, will allow you to provide the best information to your city council for further consideration.

Supporting Age-Friendly Communities

The Citizen Satisfaction IQTM tool was designed to capture the views of everyone in your community. The surveys strategically gather information across the board, and in real time, so you will know:

  • How your community currently excels at supporting elderly residents
  • Paths to improving support for elderly residents

 The other benefit of using a citizen satisfaction survey is that it can be tailored to identify other services that may require future municipal investment. In BC for example, Trail’s age-friendly community assessment survey revealed to the city that, after housing, community engagement, transportation, and health services were the municipal services that residents wanted to see improved for the aging population.

Citizen Satisfaction IQ can also provide a metric for ongoing public support of age-friendly community initiatives. Once municipal service gaps have been identified, and the plans put in place for improvement, continued surveys, using real-time data, provide an easy and accurate method of tracking success. This information can be gathered to justify your city’s budget and to provide evidence of your municipal office’s success rate.

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The Litmus Test for Age-Friendly Communities

After the citizen satisfaction survey has provided you with all the information you need to write status reports and present recommendations to council, there is one additional study that could be useful.

Residents are quick to point out where improvements can be made, but determining whether they are willing to pay for them with an increase to local taxes is often another story.

A tax survey can provide that litmus test, so you can find out exactly what residents want to pay for, and the data can be included in further recommendations to council.

An example tool is the Tax Sensitivity CalculatorTM that puts the decision-making power into the residents’ hands. The calculator provides detailed reporting on the optimal overlap between a desire for better services and the willingness to accept increased taxes. You can plan your budget with more confidence, knowing that you have maximized the number of happy residents.

Plan Your Budget Easily:

Community Development Cost Calculator Ebook

References:

http://www.who.int/ageing/age-friendly-world/en/

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/long-term-care-report-details-emotional-abuse-by-overworked-city-staff

https://www.trailtimes.ca/news/trail-adopts-age-friendly-plan

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