Whitehorse Daily Star

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SHARING VALUABLE INSIGHTS – Norah Keating, an Alberta social gerontologist, spoke to some 200 Yukoners Wednesday on the subject of healthy aging.

Yukon well-poised to tackle aging trend: speaker

The territory is “in a good position” to help Yukoners find the right fit in determining where they will live as they age, says an expert on aging.

By Stephanie Waddell on June 7, 2018

The territory is “in a good position” to help Yukoners find the right fit in determining where they will live as they age, says an expert on aging.

“You don’t have huge numbers of people,” Norah Keating, a social gerontologist, told reporters Wednesday in Whitehorse.

“People know one another. You’ve got a government that seems committed to making places the best possible places for people to grow old.”

Keating spoke following her presentation to an estimated 200 people at Wednesday’s one-day Summit on Aging in the Yukon.

The gathering was held in the morning ahead of the city’s annual Senior’s Tea in the afternoon. It marked the beginning of a lengthy engagement process aimed at hearing from Yukoners on aging.

The public engagement will continue until November. Other initiatives will include surveys, written comments, community tours and more.

There will also be engagement initiatives with residents of continuing care facilities and home care clients; First Nations and municipal governments; and government employees who work with older adults.

Keating is a co-director of research on aging, policies and practice at the University of Alberta, along with a number of other professional roles held internationally.

She addressed the crowd prior to small group discussions on what aging in place means and what would enhance aging well in the Yukon.

While the territory seems to be in a good position to help its citizens age well, Keating noted there are challenges in delivering services, given the small population and distances between communities.

She challenged those attending the summit at the Coast High Country Inn to consider the title of her presentation: If Aging In Place Is The Answer, What Is The Question?

Speaking of the aging baby boomer population, Keating noted it was a generation that was welcomed to the world after the Second World War, that schools were built for, that went on to work and create jobs and contribute to the economy.

Now, in some places, it is a generation that is seen as a problem, Keating told the audience.

“We’re not going to put up with that,” she said, going on to note the research work she has done around the world on aging populations.

It is through her work Keating has come to learn that what people need as they get older boils down to three main things:

• health that is good enough to do the things that is important to a person;

• wealth that is good enough to provide an individual with his or her basic needs and maybe a little extra to see family members who live away; and

• finally, someone important to love, be it a partner, child, old friend or relative.

“We each have a version of (what’s important),” Keating said, adding comments she’s heard in her research.

As one older man who was having trouble finding an assisted-living facility told her, all he needed was a warm bed and food in his belly.

While aging in place is a term that is often promoted, Keating pointed out, its definition varies, depending on who you talk to.

Some may define it as living in a person’s home community, with some help without having to go into care. Others see it as the ability to live in one’s home and community safely and independently, regardless of ability.

For Keating and some of her colleagues, it has become a metaphor for the benefits that may accrue for individuals who are able to live in their communities. There’s a sense of belonging and such from that community, and from those related benefits.

It’s not only the needs of people that change as they get older, but the places, Keating said.

She cited communities in the U.K. where, over the last 30 years, waves of immigrants have settled, opening new businesses.

Those who grew up in the neighbourhood were aging in their community, yet that place has changed dramatically around them.

A Maritimes community in which she worked with seniors is in decline. As one woman told her, the trains and the buses no longer come in, and soon, it seems, the tide will no longer come in.

As yet another example, Keating pointed to a community outside Toronto which has seen a huge change in demographics as it’s drawn many retirees from the city.

The growth has resulted in a huge increase to property taxes. Many of those who have resided there for years who are on a fixed income can no longer afford to live there.

“Places change, people change and the challenge is to find the best fit between people and places as all of us change (as we age),” she said.

As she wrapped up her presentation, Keating encouraged those at the summit to consider the idea – which she credited to the World Health Organization – that healthy aging is being able to be and do what you value.

See more on the summit in Friday’s Star.

Comments (8)

Up 1 Down 0

Humble Measure on Jun 12, 2018 at 2:23 pm

"Aging trend"? I'm glad to read that it's now trendy to be aging!

Up 1 Down 1

Charles on Jun 11, 2018 at 5:30 pm

Just a couple of things need correcting re Continuing Care, Residents in Copper Ridge Place have a bath & shampoo every 3 days, sponge baths as needed in between. All residents also have a shower in their in-room private bathrooms that mobile residents can use under supervision. Government does not take all the resident's money & hand out $50.00. The rent is a fixed amount and all can have money lodged in a trust account as personal spending money if they choose, but it is not obligatory. This money can be withdrawn by a resident for shopping trips, outings, gifts etc., up to the limit in the account & depending on resident's level of responsibility. Usually this money is monitored & topped up by family or whoever is delegated by the resident. Different circumstance may apply to those who have no-one to manage their affairs, but any money lodged with a care home is still recognised as belonging to the resident and not the government. When someone dies that money is returned as part of their estate.

Up 1 Down 0

Joe Wasylyk on Jun 11, 2018 at 10:43 am

Every community in Canada is wrestling with seniors issues such as healthcare, housing, ageing in place, lifelong learning and seniors poverty to name a few. It's important to listen to different speakers to tell us about some of the real problems that the aging trend is causing in our own communities. However; to be more efficient and practical, I think that we need more individual seniors to speak up about their own needs and the specific problems that they are dealing with in their day to day lives. Personally, I'm a senior living in Edmonton, Alberta and a seniors advocate with a mission to get seniors 50+ to be more active, creative, productive and prosperous in their own communities.

Up 1 Down 7

Politico on Jun 11, 2018 at 10:07 am

To anyone who claims that seniors are being imported and bumping locals from the housing lists, Bullocks. Do any of you making these claims have any idea of how long people sit on these lists before they get a chance at a place? I have yet to hear of anyone coming forward with evidence of this. Why do posters have to exaggerate to get their point across which destroys all their credibility!
Why shouldn't families bring their elders up here to be with family in their old age? If they were dumped in housing down south with no family around you would criticise them for that.

Up 5 Down 0

Stu Panton on Jun 10, 2018 at 8:51 pm

Thanks for your comments June.
Senoir housing and a viable health care program is good use of federal transfer payments

Up 10 Down 1

Juniper Jackson on Jun 9, 2018 at 11:09 pm

I listened to a woman in a local business tell someone..this is how it works..I have 600. and you have 400. The gov will take 100. away from me and give it to you, so we both have 500. If I still have more than you do, the gov will make me pay for things like medication, dental, passes, but will give it to you for free.

That is exactly what has happened. It's called an "income means test". At the end of your life, no matter how hard you worked, or what you did without, if you have anything, the government is going to take it. I am related to a rigs worker, who earned over 100k a year, for most of his life.. drank it and snorted it.. did it on contract so he didn't have to pay CPP..he pays 37.00 for his Yukon Housing senior apt. My neighbor, who can barely make ends meet, has too much money on the means test to qualify. The rents here have gone from 650. to 1,600 on a fixed income.. not taken into consideration.
The government will pay for me to see a specialist.. but won't pay for the medications he puts me on..I wonder how many seniors are either paying for their medications if they have a pension? or being forced to take outdated meds like Medformin. Have to go into continuing care? You get 1 bath, 1 shampoo a week.. the government takes all of your money, and gives you, is it 50. back? just in case you wanted to buy a present for the grand kid. I think we should pay for our care.. but everything? The Pioneer UTILITY grant. The grant parameters assumes that if your spouse dies..you only have to pay half rent, half heat, half hydro and give the breaks to those who have 2 incomes... so in addition to being alone, broken hearted, grieving, you can't pay the bills now. Medical travel for seniors? Some don't go to see the cancer specialist or the renal failure specialist because they can't pay the hotel, taxi's, meals up front. I can't.
I don't know how we can move on, when every day issues are skewed and should be fixed. As for the influx of seniors..I'd love to nail the Silver government for it..but in truth, that was Paslowski, who did not want to hire anyone locally. We have hundreds of people from the south, that want their parents and family close to them. I get that...my concern is that some of those parents didn't want to leave their routines, friends, other family to move to a cold place to babysit the grandkids... All the speeches are rosy and uplifting... yada yada yada

Up 0 Down 7

BnR on Jun 8, 2018 at 9:14 pm

Ok Drum, who paid for all our infrastructure? Fed transfer payments.
Yeah, I don't like it, I've lived here all my life and never bailed out to pursue more lucrative opportunities elswhere, but, other Canadians have just as much right to these services as we do.

Up 15 Down 0

drum on Jun 7, 2018 at 5:28 pm

I have so many friends over 65 who have lived here, worked here, paid taxes and are on a list for Senior Housing. They will not tell them where they are on the list and cannot help them day to day. Too many oldies are brought up here by families to get Senior Housing. They should be at the bottom of the list. It should be old age with dignity!!!!

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