EngAge BC Provides Strong Advocacy for Age Friendly Communities

An age-friendly city encourages active aging by optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. EngAge BC acknowledges the important role which independent and assisted living operators play in age-friendly cities and has been acting as a strong advocate for the need to support and build spaces which help older adults to age in their place of choice.

On December 6, the Association’s membership passed a policy motion at BCCPA’s AGM, which took place the Terminal City Club. The motion directed BCCPA and EngAge BC to call upon local governments in British Columbia to explore new incentives to increase the development of seniors’ congregate living such as independent living residences.

The following day, EngAge BC and BCCPA’s CEO, Terry Lake, spoke to the City of Vancouver’s Committee of the Whole, in support of a motion put forward by Councillor Mike Klassen. The motion recommended that the Council direct staff to prepare a report and presentation on the City’s Age-friendly Action Plan.

Indicating his support of the motion, Lake spoke to the important role seniors independent living homes can play in helping seniors to age in their place of choice.

“As outlined in EngAge BC’s recent paper, the Independent Living Advantage, many older adults are looking to downsize as their family units become smaller, while at the same time younger people that are looking to raise a family in B.C. struggle to find suitable housing due to housing shortages and a lack of affordability. Multi-family housing has been proffered as one way to meet this challenge,” says Lake.

“Local government incentives such as density bonuses, expedited permitting, parking or development cost levy relaxation, could acknowledge the important role which seniors living providers play in creating housing stock, and by doing so freeing up single-family housing for younger families, or redevelopment,” he continues.

In the past, the Association has also advocated for the development of Continuing Care Hubs. For example, a report issued by BCCPA in 2019, titled When a Hub Becomes Home: Placing Seniors at the Heart of B.C.’s Communities, aimed to expand a conversation among provincial and local government policymakers, care providers and those who design our cities and transportation systems, by combining the principles of healthcare delivery and community planning in the creation of “Continuing Care Hubs.”