Seniors’ voices are important

Red Deer city Coun. Buck Buchanan wants to ensure the senior voices in the community are heard in the city’s first social master plan.

Red Deer city Coun. Buck Buchanan wants to ensure the senior voices in the community are heard in the city’s first social master plan.

The plan, to be released later this year, will essentially set out Red Deer’s roles and responsibilities in delivering social services.

On Monday, Buchanan introduced a notice of motion asking the city to review existing age-friendly initiatives and to develop strategies to promote Red Deer as friendly for all ages.

While the city is a member of Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance (CAPRA) and a proponent of a Child and Youth Friendly Red Deer, Buchanan wanted to make sure seniors are part of the equation.

The World Health Organization defines an age-friendly community as one where the policies, services, settings and structures support people to age actively.

Buchanan said in order for Red Deer to be more “age friendly,” it should create services that are inclusive and meets the needs of all seniors. It should offer access to a range of appropriate transportation services, affordable and inclusive recreation activities and a range of age-friendly housing options.

“It isn’t that transportation isn’t there, it just doesn’t meet their needs,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan said a good portion of the handi-bus services accommodate dialysis patients like his late father but does not necessarily help others who do not meet particular criteria.

“In the case of my mom, she wants to go down to the Golden Circle and play cards but the availability isn’t there,” he said.

Buchanan said his mother still has her licence but she is a threat on the road more than anything else and does not necessarily want to drive.

He said his motion is essentially to recognize and acknowledge that seniors should be considered when doing any city planning.

“They want to be engaged,” he said. “They want to be involved.”

The motion is expected to be heard in council on May 12.

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