Edmonton, AB – Rural Alberta Development Fund Board of Directors approved $725,000 in funding towards a collaborative community-driven initiative aimed at engaging rural seniors and their communities in designing and implementing rural aging solutions for essential services such as housing and advanced care needs. Led by the Western Rocky View Communities Development Society, the Aging in Rural Community project will create a replicable economically and socially beneficial model allowing rural seniors to remain in their communities longer.
“With Alberta’s elderly population growing, rural communities face an increased demand to provide support systems to help seniors stay in their communities,” said the Honourable Evan Berger, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “The Aging in Rural Community project will look at how seniors and their communities can adapt and provide the needed social solutions for an aging rural population.”
Moving seniors programming to a community level will bring seniors in as equal decision-makers, co-creators and investors in developing rural aging solutions based on the local needs and priorities of rural communities. The Aging in Rural Community model will examine the financial, management and governance systems that encourage public and private sector partners to work collaboratively with communities, resulting in better delivery of coordinated services, programs and housing planning options for rural seniors.
“This project will strengthen community capacity, improve aging health outcomes and increase economic opportunities,” said Marie Logan, Chair of the Board of Directors, Rural Alberta Development Fund. “The research supporting the benefits of having rural seniors age in their communities will provide decision-makers in government, business and the non-profit sector with the knowledge to ultimately create effective policies and strategies.”
With the Western Rocky View Communities Development Society taking the lead on this project, committed partners include rural seniors, community groups, associations as well as industry partners. Through two pilot test sites – Rocky View County and Bragg Creek Seniors Housing Society – a Rural Model for Aging in Community framework will be developed, complete with operational and customized resource and planning tools for use in other projects throughout the province.
Funding from the Rural Alberta Development Fund will go towards establishing a Rural Seniors Advisory Committee comprised of volunteer consultants and community volunteers, building collaborative partnerships, marketing and branding, offering workshops and retreats, as well as developing, testing and evaluating the Aging in Rural Community model. The project’s anticipated completion date is December 2013.
Rural Alberta Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. In 2007, it was capitalized with $100 million by the Government of Alberta as part of its Rural Development Strategy. So far, $96.1 million has been committed to 82 projects. The remaining funds will be committed by March 31, 2012. Expressions of Interest are no longer being accepted.
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For more information, contact:
Communications & Program Coordinator
Rural Alberta Development Fund
Communities Development Society