Suggested Actions - Milton

Members of the Milton working group were asked to identify the three most important issues in their community and suggest actions to make their community more age-friendly. The following is a synopsis of their discussions as well as age-friendly initiatives posted on the Milton map. The actions below may be initiated by any level of government, community group or individual.

Three Most Important Issues

1. Affordable Housing

  • Continue to build affordable housing units such as the building on the Allendale campus. There is a shortage of housing and not many options when a senior must transition to meet changing needs. Some seniors feel the only option is to move out of Milton. Meet with planners and developers to provide them with information about seniors’ needs to assist them to develop housing units with seniors in mind (e.g., accessible units, safety bars etc.). Share with them the cost of adding safety bars etc. after the building has been constructed (e.g., $5000 +). It is more cost efficient to include safety bars etc. during building construction. Planners and developers have many opportunities to make their projects age friendly.

2. Affordable, Easy to Use Transportation

  • Help seniors use and feel comfortable with the bus system. Continue to purchase more accessible buses.
  • Make transit information easy to understand and readily available. Promote the cost of public transit in comparison to that of keeping a car. Provide free bus passes or free transit services for seniors at off peak times.
  • Arrange a meeting with directors of transit departments and seniors at the Seniors Centre to discuss transportation needs for seniors. Consider working with the Milton Accessibility Committee to improve transportation options in our community.
  • Continue to expand transit service. Routes are now more linear. Consider stopping at key destinations such as the Seniors Centre.
  • Plan routes that will get people in the outer communities to town. Transportation could be the tool to bring the town “back together again”.
  • Explore industry/commercial sponsorship of a “dial a bus” shuttle.

3. Buildings and Outdoor Spaces - Pedestrian Issues:

  • Work with Town Council to help make Milton more pedestrian friendly.
  • Increase the timing of lights at crosswalks to allow adequate time for seniors to cross. Consider push buttons and countdown lights so seniors know how much time they have left to cross. The red hand scares some seniors. Forward ideas from the forum to the town councillors.
  • Continue to build/retrofit walkable streets/sidewalks in all urban streets and walking/bike trails/parks off road and not near traffic. Consider walkways for seniors and lanes for scooters at malls to improve safety. Increased parking may also be needed for those who cannot walk long distances.
  • Continue or expand the winter snow removal program for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Continue to place benches downtown and along walking trails. Look at other locations where seniors need to walk such as the grocery stores, medical buildings etc.
  • Continue to use the adopted London (ON) guidelines as town buildings are being retrofitted as was done for the library for accessibility, good signage and lighting.
  • Continue hosting the Farmers’ Market. 

Please note that the following reflects further discussions of the working group members at the forum. Any section that is not included or is incomplete indicates that the group did not discuss it in the limited time available.

Communications

  • Create an age-friendly brand. Meet with the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA) to encourage businesses to become more age friendly. Continue to distribute the Halton Seniors’ Directory (including any new updates) to new members at the Seniors’ Centre.
  • ESAC needs to the Seniors’ Directory to ensure it provides accurate information. An updated version is needed for newcomers as well.
  • The Canadian Champion should continue to cover information about activities at the Seniors Centre.
  • Promote Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT) and Seniors Help Line (through SALT).
  • Provide information in print as well as through the internet (as some seniors are not connected to the Internet and can feel cut off if information is only provided online).
  • Explore funding opportunities to provide computers to seniors residences that do not have access to computers due to cost, especially in areas that the downtown library used to serve.

Community Involvement

  • Plan/implement more multicultural programs.
  • Reach out to isolated seniors including younger seniors as transitions are difficult and they may be less resistant than when a life change or crisis occurs.
  • Adult day sites should continue to offer exercise classes and leaders with STEPS.
  • Continue to advocate for seniors through the Senior’s Centre, various advisory groups and Council.
  • The Milton Seniors’ Activity Centre should continue to offer numerous quality programs including learning opportunities such as Spanish, art and computer use. Social media is especially important to keep seniors at home connected.
  • Continue to promote physical activity through Move More, Milton, walking track in the arena and activities at the Sport Centres & Leisure Centre, general fitness programs at a reduced cost (seniors centre) as well as the development of good walking trails.
  • Consider using a name other than senior as some seniors think it has a negative connotation.

Community Support and Health Services

  • Connect with your elected official about the needs for hospital expansion. Milton Hospital is way too small and cost to park is very high. Participants felt that Milton would be expected to use the Halton Health Care Hospital site on Dundas at 3rd Line.
  • Teach seniors and caregivers about transitions and provide them with information/assistance to help them navigate the health system.
  • Promote the provincial website which has information on homes and community services : http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/program/ltc/ltc_mn.html