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Bifrost, Teulon join age-friendly initiative

Teresa Carey

At a Dec. 2 age-friendly orientation in Winnipeg, Minister of Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors Jim Rondeau presented a cheque to each of the latest 13 communities joining the Province of Manitoba's age-friendly initiative.

This brings the total number of age-friendly communities in Manitoba to 85, which translates into 80 per cent of Manitobans who now will be living in age-friendly communities.

The Town of Teulon and the Rural Municipality of Bifrost were among those joining. They each received a grant of $2,000 to be used to kick-start age-friendly programs and services.

The Town of Teulon, which signed up to be a part of the program this past summer, plans to use the grant money to get an age-friendly committee up and running.

"It is seed money to get the committee working and functioning," said Teulon's Chief Administrative Officer, Grant Macaulay.

"The $2,000 will likely go quickly, maybe even quicker than we think," he added.

Macaulay points out that the cost to advertise in order to get local community members to join the committee, the cost of renting a suitable space to hold public forums, travel expenses for committee members to visit other communities, and costs associated with putting together a formal report, required by the province as a condition of the grant, all will eat into the $2,000 grant money.

However, Macaulay believes that taking part in the program will help the town improve for everybody. The committee will help identify what improvements are needed specifically for seniors in Teulon, and what issues are most affecting them.

"Here's the opportunity to have a local committee form, and have some guidance from age-friendly too," said Macaulay.

The province contributes more than $475,000 annually to the age-friendly initiative, which includes funding for an age-friendly website and an Age-Friendly Resource Team, which provide hands-on support to age-friendly communities.

The initiative was launched in 2008 with the aim of helping older adults lead active, socially engaged and independent lives, all factors which contribute to healthy aging.

The government's vision is to create communities that enhance the health and quality of life for seniors.

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