Smart Interactive Resource & Solution Platform for Seniors Port Alberni / Alberni Clayoquot Regional District ( A Model for Mid-Size Canadian Cities/Regions )

by Jorge Barandiaran,

Smart Interactive Resource & Solution Platform for Seniors

Port Alberni / Alberni Clayoquot Regional District

( A Model for Mid-Size Canadian Cities/Regions )

Overview of the Challenges and Opportunities

·  Census Canada 2016 reports 853,000 seniors living in B.C.

·  Currently, over one-sixth of B.C.’s population is over 65 years old.

·  In 2015/16, the growth rate of the population aged 65 years and older was 3.5% ‒ about three times the growth rate of the total population.

·  The real challenge for all Provinces in Canada is just beginning to surface due to the accelerated “greying effect” of having an increasingly older population.  In 20 years – starting from 2017 – the 65+ seniors’ population is expected to grow dramatically from 6.2 to 10.4 million.  B.C.’s portion of this will be more than 1.4 million seniors by 2037.

·  The existing facilities are no match for this expected doubled requirement of services.

·  The B.C. provincial government is intent in pursuing policies that would keep seniors at their homes.  The budget assignments clearly indicate this direction which is opposite of building more facilities. 

·  Expect a dramatic expansion of Home Community Care.

With some variations, all cities and Provinces in Canada have a similar problem: 

How are we going to function as a nation when roughly a quarter of the population is retired and in need of different levels of care?

It is not easy for seniors to identify community resources in any region of Canada and those resources might be more effectively organized and/or integrated so as to reduce duplication of effort.  The technology exists to make all this process easier and interactive.

Possible Solution(s) to Fill a Gap(s)

There are many individuals, organizations, agencies, entities and components among others - in both the private and public sector - providing goods and services to seniors in B.C.  However,

  • There is a perception that some of these goods and services could be better articulated to provide a seamless delivery, enabling an easier way of communicating to users and users understanding available solutions.
  • There is potential to include IT and smart technologies capabilities into such a model platform at the front-end and at the back-end.
  • There is a fundamental need for educating all providers and users in thinking alternative ways of using smart technologies and incorporating the “Internet of Things” into the delivery and consumption of all goods and services related to seniors.
  • There is room for creating a City ( and/or District ) based resource and solution platform modelled around the unique characteristics of the Canadian society.
  • There is also an opportunity for changing the traditional perspective of just providing basic housing, health care, transportation and meals to seniors:  Baby Boomers are more active than earlier generations of seniors and expect more.

What this Proposal/Idea Entails?

  • Teaming up with the main four centres in the ACRD ( Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet and Bamfield ) to provide a City-based and Regional District-based solution proposal. Teamwork and a broader geographic footprint will add “weight” to our proposal and will incorporate the “regional” and the “hinterland” to a City based submission.
  • Creating not only a unique model of seniors’ monitoring, services delivery and care but also supplying as main components elements for seniors to be active, involved and engaged.  This is an “educational” proposal as well, and it will require a module that expands on this aspect in the detailed submission.
  • This is not just another proposal for a better seniors’ website – although it would require building one website and a delivery platform once the participating individuals, organizations, agencies, entities and components are integrated as “suppliers” in this model.  It will also need a substantial amount of effort to facilitate its use by seniors.
  • The initial thrust of this proposal will be seeking input from all stakeholders at individual and organizational levels.  The funding from Smart Cities Challenge will be used to survey elements and components and incorporating all solutions into an integrated and interactive services solution model.
  • As such, this platform should incorporate inputs on how the “Home end” of things or final client/use interface will be designed and optimized based on current and future needs and technologies.
  • Eventually, partnerships with research universities ( i.e. UVic ) and/or hi-tech corporations with a seniors R&D focus will be forthcoming.

What’s in it for Port Alberni and ACRD?

  • A profound examination of our future and present needs and resources.
  • A comprehensive survey of local assets and capabilities.
  • The creation of a badly needed unique model that could be replicated elsewhere in Canada – and the positive reputation for our region that will come along with that.
  • One of the outcomes envisioned is declaring the City of Port Alberni as the best Smart City for Seniors in Canada. 
  • This carries the potential to develop Port Alberni/ACRD as a new alternative and attractive destination for seniors throughout Canada.
  • As a first corollary of this, expect requirements for more seniors’ residences ( increase in construction ); more health services ( increase in number of doctors, nurses, care providers and administration people to deliver these services );  more food and beverages ( increase in number of restaurants & catering businesses ); more IT developers moving into the region and an increase in recreation and entertainment requirements among others.
  • A second corollary of these new requirement – and at the other end of the age spectrum - is that it will also generate economic development and new jobs attracting a younger population that will provide these services to seniors.
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Consultation has concluded