At last, the Oakville Matters panel interview show with Mayor Rob Burton is now published on YouTube, where Active Aging was the featured topic. I had the distinct pleasure of being part of this panel with Dr. Kate Dupuis, Schlegel Innovation Leader at the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research, and Jodi Ball, Principal of J Consulting Group, who was a lead partner in the production of the Oakville Age-friendly Baseline Report (Jan. 2017).
Jodi Ball talked about the findings of the Oakville report gained from interviews with hundreds of older adults, using the 2007 WHO Age-friendly Cities Guide as the framework. When it comes to gaps, which are opportunities, Jodi highlighted among many things the issues of accessibility to and awareness of supports for older adults, notably mental health. Other themes she made a specific point about were exposure to affordable housing options and the diversity (culturally and socioeconomically) of older adults in this community.
Kate Dupuis spoke to, from a health perspective, the importance of addressing issues of social inclusion, isolation and loneliness. These negatively influence the social and cognitive health aspects of a person in later life. As Kate aptly put it, longevity is no guarantee if you’re not living well and therefor older adults need more “meaningful and purposeful activities” to enhance active aging. Kate also referenced accessibility in this respect.
As for my part, one of the talking points on this program focused on the notion of redefining the meaning and purpose of work in later life by way of a adopting more of an entrepreneurial approach to a portfolio life (a fusion of paid and unpaid activity), and how this too is a large part of helping to increase social engagement and active aging.
And listening to the program again since its original broadcast, it is interesting how all three of us latched on to the possibilities of intergenerational connectivity and how we need to change the vocabulary around age-friendly, which even the Mayor acknowledged.
Supportive of Mayor Burton’s age inclusive mantra around “Livable Oakville”, Kate Dupuis said perhaps we can be more of an “everyone friendly community… a livable and friendly one”, which of course puts less emphasis on a specific age marker.
As I often comment in blog posts here, you can’t keep the dialogue about the age friendly concept in a seniors-centric bubble, which limits the inclusion of others at any age who have ideas around how to address similar accessibility needs – and that includes older adults who don’t characterize themselves as seniors.
Click here for a look at the Oakville Matters YouTube – Active Aging Interview