The following information was submitted to ThoroldNews by Doug Rapelje, former director of Niagara Region Social Services and Senior Citizens Department, and member Age-Friendly Leadership Council:
The Niagara Age-Friendly Network in partnership with the Pelham Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, recently hosted a region-wide forum. The over 150 participants included seniors, representatives from senior advisory committees, elected officials and senior service providers.
The presentations covered a wide range of important subjects like, update on housing strategies, Age-Friendly community projects across the province, Niagara regional housing options, CMHC research on senior housing and the work of the Niagara Age-Friendly Network.
Dominic Ventresca, co-chair, Age-Friendly Leadership Council, stated, “The community forum provided an opportunity to learn about lifespan aging based on findings from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging and explore issues of social inclusion affecting older adults, based on hearing varied perspectives on affordable housing options. In addition, the Age-Friendly Niagara Network sought opinions of participants on how to sustain the community’s efforts in the long term toward an age-friendly community for all ages”
In this article I would to highlight the keynote address on the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging by Dr. Parminder Raina, McMaster University, Institute For Research On Aging.
McMaster University has identified research in aging as a lead priority in anticipation of the diverse and growing needs of an aging population. This very important research will study over the next 20 years 50,000 Canadians age 45-85 as they age.
The study reached an important milestone last spring when it released its first report on health and aging in Canada. The report presents key findings on a range of physical, mental and social aspects of aging based on information provided by participants.
The study to date tells us that:
- 95 per cent of CLSA participants rate their own mental health as excellent, very good or good.
- Woman are more likely than men to express feelings of loneliness and social isolation, and that there is a link between feelings of loneness and depression among old Canadians.
- 44 per cent of CLSA participants report that they provide some level of care to others, and caregiving is most frequent (49%) among individuals 55 to 64.
- Almost 90 per cent of CLSA participants age 45-85 rated their general health good, very good or excellent.
The study considers other areas that effects our lives like lifestyle and behavior, caregiving and care receiving, retirement, physical function, disabilities and falls, lesbian, gay and bisexual aging and transportation and mobility.
This study was conceived with the vision to generate new knowledge in order to better understand why some people are healthy and others are not. Through this study researchers are learning more about health and well-being of older Canadians, as well as the challenges they face when it comes to caregiving, social isolation and loneness.
“You have to do research. If you don’t know about something, then you ask the right people." - Spike Lee
I believe this study has the right people asking the right questions that will provide the answers that result in a better understanding and more evidenced based information to plan for the needs of a growing older Canadian population.
See the entire Canadian longitudinal study on aging here.
To join McMaster Optimal Aging Portal, visit this site.
Closer to home I want to acknowledge Brock Universities, Centre for Lifespan Development Research studying growth across the lifespan.
Brock has over 60 researchers initiating research with some that relates to older adults and have appointed a senior advisory committee to help identify research that will help improve the quality of life for older adults. The researchers also present the outcome of their research at public forums watch for the dates.
“Research is creating new knowledge.” - Neil Armstrong
We are fortune to have Brock University and Niagara College supporting research and programs that benefit our growing older population.
It was recently announced Niagara College has become the first college in Canada to be designated as a member of the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Global Network.
“We are proud to endorse the AFU’s core principles which will enable us to build our support for older adults in our community as we collaborate with other institutions around the word,” stated NC president Dan Patterson.