Services and supports for seniors in Port Dover have received a boost from the Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility’s Seniors Community Grant Program.
The $100,000 grant will help fund efforts to connect seniors to local food bank services, prevent financial elder abuse, establish a seniors’ advocacy strategy, and boost senior centre programming and operations. The initiatives funded by the grant project are all part of Ontario’s Age Friendly Community strategy.
The Port Dover Board of Trade will lead the project as an extension of its efforts to establish a senior centre in Port Dover. Senior Centre Program Manager Adam Veri wrote the successful application and will manage the project.
“There was a significant need for investments in Port Dover’s senior population before the pandemic, and the need is much greater now,” Mr Veri said. “This funding will help connect seniors to important services and programs, and once the lockdown is over, reconnect with each other and their community. There are good things on the horizon.”
The Port Dover and Area Lifeline Foodbank, Norfolk County’s Community Services Department, and MPP Toby Barrett all provided letters of support for the Board of Trade’s application, which was submitted in August. The Port Dover Senior Centre interim board of directors will provide governance support for the project.
The Province of Ontario states that its Age-Friendly Community strategy is “designed to respond to both the opportunities and challenges of an aging population by creating physical and social environments that support independent and active living, and enable older people to continue contributing to all aspects of community life.”
Mr Veri explained that the key to establishing an age-friendly community is addressing what’s known in environmental gerontology as the ‘person-environment fit.’
“Essentially the idea is that seniors experience a better and more independent aging process when they face fewer barriers in their environment. So in addition to connecting seniors with services and supports, this project will identify physical and social barriers and figure out ways to at least reduce their impact, if not remove them entirely,” said Mr Veri.
“And these adjustments are good for the entire community, businesses included,” he continued. “The feel-good elements are clear, but there’s also an economic advantage to age-friendly community planning.
Communities that make an effort to support seniors living active, safe, and fulfilling lives see more volunteerism, social engagement, and consumption of goods and services. This is a good fit for Port Dover, which depends so heavily on volunteers for its events and projects, and for businesses who want to make themselves accessible to aging residents and reach new customers joining the community.”
Public consultations and opportunities to participate in the project will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on the province’s Age-friendly Community planning strategy visit Ontario.ca. For more information about the Port Dover Board of Trade visit portdover.ca
Originally published February 3, 2021