Programs - Rural Development
Rural Canada has been undergoing a seniors' boom at a much faster rate than urban areas, in part because older adults have been migrating to small towns and the surrounding countryside. Some are coming home to places where they grew up before seeking employment in the city; others are moving because they enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle. [1]
Typically, there is a smaller range of public, professional and commercial services available in rural than in urban areas, including public transportation, home support, specialized health care and housing options. The relative lack of services is less problematic for vigorous, self-sufficient people of all ages, but often, as people advance in years, a more supportive environment is needed to maintain independence in the community.
The evidence is clear. Older Manitobans can live longer, healthier lives by staying socially connected, increasing their levels of physical activity, eating in a healthy way, taking steps to minimize their risks for falls and refraining from smoking, keeping their minds active and understanding the use and interactions of prescription and over the counter medications.
But there are real environmental, systemic and social barriers to adopting these healthy behaviours. Some relate to inequities as a result of gender, culture, ability, income, geography, ageism and living situations. In rural communities, older adults are at an even greater risk for isolation. These barriers and inequities can be addressed now. Through a combination of political will, public support, corporate commitment and personal effort, healthy aging with dignity and vitality is within reach of all Manitobans.
  • To undertake public education regarding the health benefits of active living for older adults in 10 rural communities in Manitoba.
  • To develop a community based plan for ongoing activities that facilitate the participation, independence and contribution of older adults in their community.
  • To develop the concept of peer leadership among older adults in rural Manitoba

[1] (Adapted from Expression: Newsletter of the National Advisory Council on Aging, Vol 9 No. 1)

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