A symposium on healthy aging for both the public and health professionals is coming to Langley this June, if organizers can find a suitable venue.
Victora Casas-Alcuaz, a clinical nurse specialist with the Frail Elderly-Older Adult Network for Fraser Health, said the pandemic illustrated again that seniors are among the most vulnerable groups in society.
She’s organizing the new symposium, planned for early June in Langley, to gather together both the public and health professionals to talk about preventing frailty and changing the culture around talking about aging.
The symposium will have two phases.
The morning and early afternoon will be for members of the public, with a focus on seniors, but allowing in family members, including children.
There will be meals and entertainment, but also pharmacy consultations, geriatricians, geriatric psychologists, dieticans, and professionals in advanced-care planners.
In the afternoon, the symposium will change gears and move on to providing education for professionals.
There’s a lack of knowledge about aging, even among health-care providers, Casas-Alcuaz said. Some people have internalized ageism.
She moved from working in critical care to geriatric care in her career, and had people asking her why she would do that, since critical care is a “sexier” area of medical work.
Some of the material covered at the symposium may be familiar to those who have attended previous seniors-focused events, but the idea is about reaching people who haven’t necessarily been able to come to other events.
Casas-Alcuaz said her group has been involved before the pandemic in events like larger seniors expos in Vancouver.
But those events tended to attract people who were independent, could easily travel around the region, and had the money to enter the expo, Casas-Alcuaz said.
Then, there’s online events, which are sometimes difficult for seniors who have issues with hearing or vision, she noted.
That’s why they want this next event to be localized, free, and accessible.
“So we’re starting in Langley,” Casas-Alcuaz said.
She hopes that this symposium can be the template for many more across other communities.
The event will be free to the public.
“We’re getting sponsorships,” said Casas-Alcuaz.
The official date has not yet been set for the event, but Casas-Alcuaz is hoping for around June 10, dependent on the group finding a location in Langley.
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