When you stop and think about it, becoming an age-friendly community isn't just about seniors.

"An age-friendly community is about including everybody," explains Sharon Moore, facilitator of a steering committee examining what needs to be done here.

She provides one of many possible examples.

"We include those with disabilities, we include those with strollers who need to get across a street when the light is going so fast they can't get their children while hanging onto their bike and the stroller across the street in time."

"Well, an older adult using a walker might need that same timing to get across the street. So it's looking at everything in our community and how we operate."

The development of the strategic is broken into three categories.

The built environment, which includes such areas as transportation, housing, parks, and recreation, is just one.

It will navigate the health environment and examine what health services are available here and which ones aren't that require travel out of the community. In addition, it will review the availability of health information, something she says is a very distinct area.  

Plus, it will examine the civic and social components.

Sharon MooreSharon Moore mans the table at the Filipino Family Picnic and Senior Appreciation celebration at the Cochrane Ranche Historic Site on June 10.

Much like the creation of the Community-Led Elder Abuse Response, it's a collective effort by multiple organizations. There is representation from the town, Rocky View County, FCSS, Seniors on the Bow, and health and social services.

'It brings that collaborative piece together, so we're not working in silos. We're at the same table, and we all have a voice at that one table."

Work has just begun.

The first taste of it was a public engagement piece included as part of Cochrane Senior Week. Hard copies of an age-friendly survey were available throughout the week and will soon be available online until about mid-July.

Those who have already completed the survey but haven't submitted them can drop them off at either FCSS, 209-2 Ave. W., or the Seniors on the Bow, upstairs in the SLS Centre.

That will be followed by some public forums as well as a deep dive into its three driving topics.

"The plan will also be measured so that we know whether we're getting the results we need and whether we have completed the task. Then we'll report that back, so the community knows how the age-friendly process is working and developing."

"It opens the door to the town contributing funds to do upgrades wherever required and other federal and provincial funding. It links our municipality to social programs, and it links our healthcare system to social programs."

Making Cochrane age-friendly is based upon a framework of the World Health Organization that looks at the needs of seniors throughout the aging process. The Alberta government is also encouraging the development of age-friendly communities.

In just seven years, it's estimated a quarter of Cochrane's population will be 65 or older.