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By Denise Lemire

On November 27, 2018, Denise Lemire, a member of CNPEA's board of directors, participated in a round table organized by Rachel Blaney, NDP MP in Ottawa. No less than 25 stakeholders were there to discuss the challenges and solutions to improve the quality of life of Canadian seniors. The group comprised representatives from national organizations related to housing, Alzheimer's disease, health, research, social services, pensions and many more.

Many potential solutions were identified. Here are just a few of them:

  • Encouraging more intergenerational projects (and even developing intergenerational neighborhoods) and community projects;
  • Developing more awareness campaigns on a variety of topics related to seniors (eg, ageism, abuse, fraud, loneliness, health) - attitudes need to be changed (eg, seniors are not a burden on society);
  • Create more opportunities to educate seniors about these topics. Older adults are not always aware of the services and programs available in their community - we need to find ways to inform them so they know who to turn to when needed.
  • We need to develop more networks and provide financial support for them.
  • Increase financial support to help expand services and programs for seniors (expand the New Horizons funding program for instance)
  • Take into account specific challenges such as linguistic and financial challenges for older immigrants.


Over the years, several calls for a national strategy have emerged; there is a need for an overall vision, hence the importance of establishing a National Seniors Strategy, as advocated by the NDP.  All stakeholders present agreed that now is the time to face challenges and to identify new models (eg in Scandinavia), and new ways of doing things. 

CNPEA made the following recommendations (also sent to Rachel Blaney, Member of Parliament for North Island - Powell River, to Philomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors and Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada):

  • Recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all answer:  The word “seniors” fails to  acknowledge the variety of people, life experiences, and age groups -spanning over four decades- currently living in Canada.
  • Develop national awareness campaigns about ageism and elder abuse 
  • Place emphasis on improving social inclusion of older adults: Develop strategies to fight social isolation and combat ageism. Encourage the development of age-friendly cities and intergenerational initiatives. Develop and expand caregiving, housing and transportation support and solutions.
  • Provide sustained financial support for CNPEA: We want to be able to pursue our mission of connecting and sharing knowledge across provinces and territories; offering easy access to valuable information and initiatives that can be adopted and applied across the country, while preventing redundancy; and fostering dynamic collaborations to guarantee that older adults can have a safe, healthy and enjoyable later life.


Ideas or comments for Denise or for CNPEA? Send us an email!

 

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By the Seniors of Canada Team

When it comes to later life, in mainstream media, we find that you typically see two themes: the Viagra/Freedom 55-type photos — affluent, attractive retirees dancing or golfing their way through their golden years — and photos from the other end of the spectrum, often depicting weak, physically frail older people who seem to need help. Oversimplified stereotypes like these fuel ageist narratives and add to a belief that all older people fit into one of two boxes. Ageism cuts across the life course and is understood as occurring when one is perceived to be too old or too young to be or to do something (Nelson, 2005). The most socially “normalized” of any prejudice, ageism is a widespread practice and has negative impacts on older people’s health and well-being. Ageist beliefs can, in fact, be internalized, and older people may come to believe the negative stereotypes about their age group. We know that older age is characterized by great diversity and with aging populations around the world, we need to act now to generate a positive effect on individuals and society.

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By Stephany Peterson

Putting Humpty Together Again: Contextualizing interdisciplinarity as disposition in abuse research
Musings from the MMFC Conference, UNB, Fall 2018

Excerpts from the essay, which can be found in full length with references here


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Lately, I have been mulling about how interdisciplinarity in the context of the incredible design form of an egg: it is truly an evolutionary marvel. Its three-dimension arch shape is one of the strongest architectural forms on earth. As a result, the egg can withstand a hen settling its weight to roost over it, or even the exerted pressure of the entire human body; however, it is also delicate enough to allow for the beak of a chick or a gentle tap on the lip of a mixing bowl to penetrate it. The nature of this domed structure enables its delicate composition: its tenuousness possible because of its strength of form.

This intentional tenuousness, and how it can illustrate a key element of intersectoral research, kept returning to me as I enjoyed a recent conference hosted at the University of New Brunswick. The season’s first snow swirling, framed by the room’s picture windows, was a backdrop to the dozens of professionals from multiple fields, all convened by the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre and its Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults Research Team for the Abuse of Older Women: A Community-Based Approach conference.

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The Edmonton Police Service just released a new video to illustrate some of the signs that can be indicators of abuse or neglect.

Via the Edmonton Police Service page "How to Help Abused Seniors"How to Help Abused Seniors":

"Those in regular contact with a senior are normally more aware of the seniors’ regular routines and are better equipped to identify changes that may suggest abuse is an issue.  

Those closest to the senior are able to identify concerns, provide emotional support and assist the senior to reach out to services and resources.

Encourage the senior to tell someone else about what is happening. This may be a doctor, social worker, home care nurse, police officer, etc. See the extensive list of resources on this website.

 There are many signs that may indicate abuse. Some to watch for are:

  1. Discrepancies between a person's standard of living and his/her financial assets, or a depletion of assets, without adequate explanation.
  2. Malnourishment and inadequate physical care.
  3. Physical injuries, such as bruises, burn marks, welts, rope burns, tufts of hair missing, broken bones, none of which can be adequately explained.
  4. Withdrawn, apathetic or fearful behaviour, particularly around certain persons.
  5. Medical needs not attended to.


Unless the person who is being abused is unable to care for themselves or make good personal decisions because of a disability, he or she has the right to choose where and how to live. Occasionally it may be that the abused person chooses to stay in the situation rather than choose an alternative. More often than not however, victims stay because they are not aware of what options are available to them. Providing them the information they need to make good informed choices can be incredibly helpful.

It may also be appropriate to offer assistance to the suspected abuser. Counselling and support services may help alleviate the factors contributing to the abuse. If appropriate, respite care is available for the senior. This may assist the abuser (or potential abuser) by reducing stress. Situations of abuse must be handled carefully so that the situation is not aggravated.

If you have any concerns at all about what you should do, there are resources you can call. These include:

  • The Seniors Protection Partnership Intake Line: 780-477-2929
  • The Seniors’ Abuse Helpline: 780-454-8888 (available 24 hours a day), or
  • The Edmonton Police Service:  780-423-4567 (available 24 hours a day).

 

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via The International Federation on Ageing

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) turns 70 this year and the International Day for Older Persons (October 1) celebrates the importance of this Declaration, and reaffirms the commitment to promoting the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by older persons.

 

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