A mapping program to help seniors navigate the city has been launched by the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Seniors Network.
Walking, transit, and driving routes have been mapped across the city with seniors in mind, noting things like where accessible parking is located, the time it will take to walk to a destination for an older adult and where amenities are located.
The need for the program came from community consultations in 2015, explained seniors network coordinator Heather Treleaven.
At that time she was hearing from seniors who were downsizing or moving to Maple Ridge from another community that they were having difficulties figuring out where they wanted to live. They wanted to know where the transit is, where is their doctor relative to their home or where is the closest grocery store.
“It’s driven by seniors who told us this is what they needed to choose their community and choose where they wanted to live to make moving and living in Maple Ridge easier,” said Treleaven.
And, the great thing about the program, said Treleaven, is that it is designed by seniors for seniors with a goal of increasing outdoor community participation for older adults.
It is a direct initiative from the Age-friendly Community Initiative Action plan and Implementation Strategy, and was funded through the Union of BC Municipalities, Age-friendly grant program.
“If somebody wants to choose a new doctor or pre-look at their route they can see where the accessible parking is in the community,” explained Treleaven.
“You can put in your home address and look at what bus stops are near you, what parks are near you, and the walking distance,” she said adding that the goal was to get more folks out in the community, improve the walkability and access to community resources.
Community consultations involved hundreds of seniors. The committee that created the program was made up of eight people including representatives from Fraser Health’s Healthy Built Environment group along with a community health specialist as well as the City of Maple Ridge IT department.
Seniors will also be able to print out the maps.
Treleaven plans to train people in the community on how to use the program, like at the library and the Seniors Activity Centre, so that seniors who don’t have a computer at home can access the program elsewhere.
So far more than 30 people have been offering feedback on the program. Some of the feedback was making sure walking distances were realistic for older adults and making the print large.
Currently the program only includes the City of Maple Ridge, but the hope is that other communities will be interested and then the maps can be linked together, said Treleaven.
“It connects with Google Maps as well. We’re pretty excited about it,” she said.
To access the program go to gis.mapleridge.ca/SeniorResources.
For more information call 604-786-7404 or email email@example.com.