International Federation of Ageing conference an experience

Ruth Scoullar heard new ideas, good plans and other useful information

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about old age. Perhaps it’s because I’ve just returned from the 11th International Federation of Ageing conference in Prague, Czech Republic. They had excellent speakers from all over the world and disclosed how they’ve dealt with problems and tried to come up with solutions unique to their communities.

We heard extraordinary voices of the Czech Republic. Dr. Alex Kalasky of Brazil told about an age-friendly city movement growing throughout the world. The new IFA president Gangadharan of India explained International Federation of Ageing is now 50 years old. The conference will be held in South Africa 2013 next May. There were inspiring presentations from 44 countries including Canada. The Hon. Alice Wong, Minister for State (Seniors) represented Canada as well as a number of presentations by other Canadians.

Just some of the topics discussed were mental health needs of older persons; health promotion and well-being throughout life; housing and the living environment; enabling older people – assistive technology, devices and products; work and the ageing labour force; elder abuse occurrence and detection. R. Keller of the U.S.A. said that the world’s largest provider of elderly housing is the Salvation Army. We learned that pets are important for seniors, 120 project designs have been produced by Centre for Design for people with dementia and the importance of mobile phones for communication, housing and public transportation.

Upon my return from Europe, the subject of ageing was impacted all the more while I listened to B.C. Ombudsperson Kim Carter when she joined MLA Bob Simpson recently at a public forum in the Seniors Centre in Quesnel. Their in-depth investigation made 143 findings and 176 recommendations for seniors’ care. The Ministry of Health is requesting public input on the proposed Seniors’ Advocate at a regional meeting in Prince George, June 25. Call 1-855-356-9614 to register.

Also there are the Voices for North Cariboo Seniors monthly meetings headed up by Peter Nielsen that have focused primarily on five of the issues considered top priority for seniors care: Senior’s Housing; Residential and Home Care; Hospital and Health Care; Transportation and Driver’s licencing through the DriveAble program.

But the more I think about it the more I am convinced that there may have been more that we could have done when we were younger to help prepare us for our senior years.

Of course some situations are unavoidable and there is only so much we can do in this regard.

It is encouraging to know that improvements are being sought for solutions now but I got to thinking about the young people in our community. Are they going to find themselves in the same dilemmas? A person’s well being has a great deal to do with a strong and healthy nurturing support system, good nutrition, exercise, and good friends that can form a strong bond throughout our lives.

People need people whether some loners would like to admit it or not.

Whether teenage, middle age or senior the type of friends we have can make a real difference throughout our lives. It can go a long way toward quality of life in old age.

Canada Day Tea

Many seniors over 60 years have already pre-registered for the Seniors Strawberry Tea in LeBourdais Park under canvas from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. If you have not done so, call 992-1567 to make a reservation to ensure there’s a place for you. People will be seated after 1 p.m. The event is sponsored by the City of Quesnel and the Seniors Advocacy Service.

Ruth Scoullar is a seniors’ advocate and regular Observer columnist.

Quesnel Cariboo Observer