Re-Think Ageing Conference: Now Fall 2016.

Today’s post is a variation of my blog post on the Planet Longevity web site, April 16.

Looks like a re-set on the date for the Re-Think Ageing Conference 2016, originally planned for May 4-5 in Toronto at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.

As a member of the Planet Longevity group, I’m ready and set to go when the new dates are announced for some time in the fall – 2016. Perhaps the cause for the sudden decision to delay was for the simple reason that the subject matter reached such an unexpected, high level of interest, that the location and format needed adjustment to handle the crowd.

Produced in Canada by the National Institute on Ageing (NIA) in partnership with the Ontario Gerontology Association and the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, the conference ties in under the Four Pillars Theme of the National Seniors Strategy (NSS) with some very prominent presenters in break-out sessions over two days.

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All of this is not to be confused with the National Seniors Council (NIC). This federal government initiative hasn’t done any media updates since June of 2015 and hasn’t put out any report or publication since 2014. With all the apparent interest gathering steam in the media, there seems to be a lag in the ability of these organizations to get in front fast enough to meet the demand for not just conversation, but participation.

To be fair, he National Institute on Ageing (NIA) is relatively new, hitting the ground with a media release in February 2016. One of the inaugural founding partners in this new endeavour is the International Federation on Ageing (IFA).

Further good news about the IFA, is that their new global headquarters is now in Toronto. This can only be good reason to believe that the NIA will develop a stronger voice in Canada. But one thing to note, is that no one organization or group owns the story of ageing in the 21st century. There is enough room for collaboration on the “re-think”.

In addition, we should pay attention to the fact that while we persist in using the term “seniors”, we run the risk of excluding inter-generational participation on the great “re-think” on ageing. Everyone ages. What is the more inclusive term, as far as I see it, is “longevity”. There are enough concerns, and multiple shared touch points on all the issues related to ageing, for all generations to be involved.

In that light, let’s propose for a moment, that what we really need is a National Longevity Strategy. As my colleague Mary Ellen Tomlinson said in her March 31 Planet Longevity blog post, “longevity is not accidental”. Understanding the issues and improving the conditions for a current older population over 65, (for the sake of an argument as to who is a senior), is of great significance for all people as they age into the future.

Conferences and summits in Toronto and around the world therefore, ought not to be exclusive to seniors. If future generations are going to achieve a healthier, happier longevity, then the conversations we are having today about the choices we are making, on everything from health care to community design, will ensure that a productive and useful longevity is not accidental, but a consciously chosen destiny.

NIA. Bring on the “re-think”!

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