“A healthy community should have respect, inclusion, and be safe for all… Making communities age-friendly so that seniors feel safe inside and outside their home [should be the focus]. At Gale Crescent, we saw this happening, but things could still be improved.” – Student
For the third installment of the Through Their Eyes project in Niagara, Paula Gardner and her students collaborated with 15 Gale Crescent, a senior housing residence owned and managed by Niagara Regional Housing in St. Catharines. Students from Brock University partnered with seniors from the residence to gain a better understanding of what makes an age-friendly community through the eyes of the city’s “experts”–local senior residents.
This year’s installment of the Through Their Eyes project included a new element: GIS Mapping of the frequented areas surrounding 15 Gale Crescent. The additional element to this project’s research enhanced our ability to assess the age-friendliness of the neighbourhood. With the help of staff from the Map Library at Brock University students gained new skills in ARC – a Geographical Information System (GIS) software program.
GIS is a computer system that allows you to view information about a geographical area (in this case, the Gale Crescent community) in the form of a map. The students used these maps to pinpoint the domains of an age-friendly community such as the community’s parks and green spaces, transportation routes, and locations of nearby supermarkets, churches, and health services.
These maps were also used to plot the routes that the residents mentioned they typically used in order to better understand their community experience from a bird’s eye view.
Overall, the maps and mapping skills were found to be a useful tool adding another layer to our understanding of a community and its age-friendliness.
Have a look at some of the maps.
- Sandy’s Adventure
- “More than just words”
- “Through HER Eyes”
- Age-friendly spaces and concerns at 15 Gale Crescent
- Larissa’s Places
- Waqar’s Unique Friday Morning Trip
Video Presentation Summarizing Through Their Eyes Project Findings
Keeping up with the project tradition, on Monday, March 28th, 2016, Paula Gardner’s students, community partners and seniors from 15 Gale Crescent gathered to share and learn about the project findings. Memories and kind words were shared as everyone enjoyed food and drink. The reflections of understanding and gratitude were accompanied by the sounds of laughter and enjoyments as, once again, the Through Their Eyes project opened hearts and minds.
Paula presented back to the residents what had been learned from them about the positives, negatives and opportunities for change in their community based on the domains of age-friendliness. A few of the students had prepared some words to share about their experience with the project as well. The presentation was well received, with a few residents adding comments and kind words about their own experience with the project.
Overall, the community forum was a great event that brought students, seniors, and community partners together that resulted in a shared feeling of community. What a great way to bring this year’s installment of the project to a close!
Take a moment to look through some of the photos from the event!
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