Welland City council appointed the first Senior Citizens Advisory Committee (SCAC) in Niagara in 2008.
The purpose “To serve in an advisory capacity to city council and staff on matters that impact the quality of life of seniors in the city of Welland.”
As Niagara is among the oldest communities in Canada with 21.39% over 65 and Welland with 21.28% over 65 it demonstrates the need for community Senior/Age-Friendly Advisory Committees, Niagara Age-Friendly Leadership Council and eventually a Council on Aging. They represent strong voices for senior issues and needs. Through the leadership of the Niagara Age-Friendly Leadership Council all communities in Niagara have or plan to have Senior/Age-Friendly Advisory Committees.
The committee members are appointed to serve by city council and are volunteers who have been advocates for a growing older population and promoting Welland as an Age-Friendly city and a “Community for All Ages.”
Welland was the first community in Niagara to be admitted to the World Health Organization (WHO) global network for Age-Friendly communities and one of the first communities to receive the Ontario Age-Friendly Community recognition award.
SCAC has used as a guide the Niagara Aging Strategy and Action Plan (April 2015) in considering issues and priorities that were fostered by the Age-Friendly Niagara Network. This has helped shape our local world by implementing the WHO’s components for an age-friendly community.
Our committee has presented briefs, made presentations and offered recommendations on a variety of issues that impact the quality of life of older adults
For examples our SCAC has advocated for more long term care beds, senior affordable housing, Hospice/Palliative Care services and developed a guide to help make businesses and services more Age-Friendly “Creating an Age-Friendly Business in Welland/Pelham ,staffing levels in long term care facilities and SCAC continues to advocate for affordable and convenient public transportation and senior friendly hospitals.
An import part of are committee work has been public education and providing information by hosting public forums on Senior Poverty, Senior Safety Programs, Elder Abuse and to help provide helpful information to seniors and families by producing a free newsletter which the committee distributes around the city “Age-Friendly Forum”.
SCAC works closely with the City of Welland on SCAC projects –e.g., Senior Citizens Month in June and World Senior Day (October 1st) are recognized with special events and our Age-Friendly flag is raised at City Hall and the Welland Community Wellness Complex.
Recently Welland Transit has placed the Age- Friendly logo’s on all their buses and bus shelters and plans are underway to introduce “Let’s Chat” benches in Welland parks and other areas to encourage intergenerational sharing of knowledge and wisdom.
The work of our committee includes presenting a more positive image of older adults.
This is a new age and today’s ‘older adults” are different than past seniors. Most of today’s older adults are increasingly well, active, living longer and healthier and contributing to our communities with expertise, life experience, and volunteer time. They also provide valued support to their families, are consumers in our communities and donate to worthy causes.
Simply stated older adults contribute in many different ways.
As Welland continues to build on its positive reputation as an Age-Friendly city, SCAC works toward involving the whole community-all age groups-through the creation of partnerships and the commitment to a diverse range of organizations and individuals in areas of health, transit, business, Municipal planning, research recreation, housing, social services, caregivers and older persons themselves.
It takes the whole community….to be AGE-FRIENDLY