We want to make sure that Sparwood is a community where older people can age actively, live in security, enjoy good health and participate fully in society. An Age-Friendly Community Plan will help ensure that Sparwood remains an attractive place to live with features that not only benefit seniors, but also support the health, safety, and enjoyment of residents of all ages.
Our Age-friendly Community Plan will address these age-friendly focus areas developed by the World Health Organization:
An age-friendly community is one that supports and enables older people to “age actively” – that is, to live in security, enjoy good health and continue to participate fully in society (World Health Organization). An age-friendly community not only improves the quality of life for seniors, it also creates a more inclusive, safe and accessible community for everyone, including people with disabilities and families with young children.
BC’s population is aging. In 2009, just under 15% of BC’s population was 65 or older and by 2036 this proportion is projected to be nearly 24%. Although Sparwood currently has a younger than average population compared to the province as a whole, trends show that Sparwood’s share of older adults and seniors is increasing. Further, as much as 50% of the local workforce is eligible to retire in 10 years.
So, the District is using grant funding from the Government of British Columbia and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to create a plan to make Sparwood more age-friendly with the aim of retaining retiring workers and existing seniors, and attracting new residents who want to stay long-term and age in place.
The District recently completed an update to its Official Community Plan that outlines Sparwood’s vision for 2035 to be a community that embraces social, cultural, and economic diversity, building on existing strengths that make the community so livable today. It includes the goal to encourage diverse housing types for people of all ages, incomes, and lifestyles will support residents through all the stages of their lives. It also prioritizes a compact urban form combined with an effective and safe trail network and multi-modal transportation system, which will support community members of all ages and abilities. Further, the Districts of Elkford and Sparwood Housing Needs Assessment identified that planning for owned and rented affordable and accessible housing for seniors should be a priority.
Use these links to age-friendly guides and resources to learn more about age-friendliness: