Suggested Actions - Outdoor Spaces & Buildings

The following is a synopsis of the discussions of the outdoor spaces & buildings working group at the Age- Friendly Forum June 2011. The actions below may be initiated by any level of government, community group or individual.

Promote the principles of age-friendly communities to create awareness

  • Ensure there is a seniors’ age-friendly committee in each community.
  • Age-friendly communities recognize that “What is good for seniors is good for everyone” but the focus should be on the needs of seniors as there can be significant differences between what seniors need in a community versus other age groups such as children.
  • Reconsider the age-friendly framework in terms of low income. The age-friendly framework does not consider how low income limits the options of seniors.
  • Low income shrinks opportunities for community involvement as well as for housing, transportation and services.
  • Provide opportunities for intergenerational exchange of age-friendly dialogue. Use new technology re: You Tube.

Note: The above suggested actions can apply to any of the age-friendly themes

Support the creation of age-friendly standards for outdoor spaces & buildings

  • Develop or re-evaluate the standards for the placement of benches (i.e. distances between benches, etc.). Benches/places to rest are needed indoors and outdoors.
  • Install sidewalks when roads/communities are being built or rebuilt. Curb cuts are helpful. Sidewalks need to be level, kept in good repair and clear.
  • Involve seniors in planning age-friendly parks and open spaces.
  • Develop age-friendly sticker/certification for organizations (e.g. age-friendly church, business).

Clarify and create rules/etiquette re: scooters & bikes

  • Obtain clarity on scooter/bike usage (on roads, sidewalk and multipurpose pathways) and make that information available at source of purchase.
  • Educate children, youth and seniors about safety issues and concerns related to bikes and scooters so both understand the etiquette regarding scooters and bikes approaching each other.
  • The trend towards multi-use trails can be very distressing for people with mobility issues. Consider this when designing outdoor areas.

Increase the accessibility and number of public washrooms in the community

  • There needs to be more accessibility to washrooms in public spaces (e.g. washrooms open, unlocked all year round).
  • Place washrooms on the edges of parks/public spaces so people going for walks can use them.