Surrey, B.C. – More than 200 organizational leaders from across B.C. met on November 2 & 3 to identify and address critical challenges facing seniors in the province today. The inaugural Provincial Summit on Aging (the “Summit”) took place at Surrey City Hall and was an initiative of the Raising the Profile Project (www.seniorsraisingtheprofile.ca).
The Summit’s goals were to raise the profile and increase the capacity of Community-Based Seniors’ Services (CBSS) – which includes municipal seniors’ service providers and non-profit organizations – to deliver health promotion and prevention programming that supports seniors’ independence, resilience and social connectedness. Delegates highlighted the importance of ensuring that every older adult in B.C. can age well, and the broad range of stakeholders – from grassroots organizations to regional, provincial and national partners – created a unique opportunity to identify effective strategies, take action, and strengthen the CBSS sector.
In Canada, those over age 65 now outnumber those under age 15. Wellness of seniors must remain a top priority. While the CBSS sector supports seniors’ independence, resilience and social connectedness – supports that have proven effective in reducing health care costs and utilization and enhancing the overall well-being of seniors and their families – the essential importance of these services has yet to be acknowledged and given priority by decision makers.
By the time the event concluded, almost 300 organizations and individual leaders signed a declaration that highlights the need to actively support community‐based health promotion and prevention efforts (close to 100 organizations have already signed on). For the first time in history, the province of B.C.’s seniors’ sector leaders are committing to further the work of CBSS, and from the outcomes of the Summit will emerge a new vision and plan to increase the health and wellness of older adults across B.C.
At the Summit’s closing address, B.C.’s Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie underscored the importance of community supports as our population ages and emphasized, contrary to some stereotypes, the reality that the vast majority of seniors are active and engaged in the communities where they live.
The City of Surrey, in partnership with the United Way of the Lower Mainland, United Way’s Better at Home Program, the Raising the Profile Project, the Active Aging Research Team from the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at the University of British Columbia, the BC Recreation and Parks Association, and with sponsorship from the B.C. Ministry of Health, hosted the two day Provincial Summit on Aging at Surrey City Hall.
Together we will realize a bold vision that supports seniors’ wellness in our province.
For more information on the Provincial Summit on Aging, please visit: http://www.seniorsraisingtheprofile.ca/
To find out more about United Way’s commitment to supporting seniors in your community, click here.