A Request for Stakeholder Input

The Elgin St. Thomas Age-Friendly Steering Committee is developing a community plan for residents of Elgin County and the City of St. Thomas.  An Age-Friendly Community (AFC) is one where policies, services and facilities support and enable older people to live in a secure environment, enjoy good health and continue to participate fully in their communities. 

Work on the plan is well underway and will be completed in the late fall.  The project is being led by a Steering Committee with representatives from the City of St. Thomas, County of Elgin, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health and a cross-section of service providers and seniors.  It will produce a comprehensive and sustainable AFC plan that will serve as a template to address the needs of our growing seniors population. 

The Process to Date

Following receipt of a Healthy Communities Grant from the Ontario Government, the Steering Committee issued a Request for Proposals and selected a consulting firm to conduct a needs assessment and facilitate the planning process. Work on the project commenced in February 2017. 

During the winter and spring of 2017 information about services and supports for seniors in Elgin St. Thomas was gathered through a number of interconnected research and consultation initiatives:

  • Reviews of reports, existing plans and data on community services, including the work carried out by the St. Thomas Elgin Community Leaders’ Cabinet and data available from SouthWesthealthline.ca. 
  • A needs assessment survey was distributed on-line and completed by 35 service providers representing 20 different organizations
  • A community survey of views about the current environment for seniors in Elgin St. Thomas was completed by over 200 respondents across a range of age groups
  • Seven separate seniors focus groups were held at various locations across the County during the month of May.  A total of 244 seniors were reached through these sessions. 
  • Interviews with a range of “key informants” including municipal officials, key service providers and other community leaders were scheduled.  Seventeen interviews have now been completed and interviewing will continue for the duration of the project.  Information from the key informants is confirming the findings from the surveys and focus groups.

On June 5, 2017 a half-day forum was held at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health to review information gathered and identify emerging directions.  The session was attended by about 50 participants including seniors, service providers, municipal officials and members of the AFC Steering Committee.   

Background information on the project is available on the Elgin St. Thomas Public Health website including summaries of the survey data and the slides and notes from the community forum. 

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