KAMLOOPS — There’s no arguing the fact BC’s population continues to get older. By the year 2031, it’s predicted close to 25% of the population of the province will be over the age of 65, which means we’re likely to see more events like one held today in downtown Kamloops. The 3rd Annual Seniors Symposium took place at the Sandman Signature Hotel; this years theme was “Healthy Aging in the Community: Aging in a New Age.”
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It’s an inevitability of living. Getting older is something no one can avoid, but we can choose how we react to the aging process.
“[It’s] the paradox of aging,” said Neena Chappell a professor of Sociology and Gerontology from the University of Victoria, and was the keynote speaker at the event. “There are clear downsides of aging. Our physical health declines. The upside of aging, though, is that were as happy, or happier than when we were younger.”
She says it’s unclear why people are generally happier as they get older. “What we do know is that our priorities shift [when we get older],” Chappell told CF|JC Today. “What becomes more important to us are our friendships [and] family… Many of us make peace with whatever we’ve done in our pasts.”
Health Minister Terry Lake helped open the event, and in doing so, also announced a $5,000,000 funding boost for the ‘Better at Home’ program, which helps keeps seniors in their own homes longer.
“It provides help [for seniors] for those jobs around your house and yard that become more difficult as you age,” Lake said. “It can make the difference between the ability to stay in… your own home, or seek some assisted living, or maybe residential care, in some cases.”
The event itself was an opportunity for those in attendance to gather, and take part in a number of different workshops, throughout the day, learning about a variety of different topics. From the safety of seniors, to making your money last through retirement. Lake says an event like this is a good way for these folks to stay engaged, a key in maintaining good health.
“Having symposiums like this makes people more aware of what’s available,” Lake said. “[It] also engages them, so they’re more active and they’re connected with each other.”
Neena Chappell agrees; staying both mentally and physically active, and engaged is the true fountain of youth.
“It’s very simple,” Chappell said. “Physically, use it or lose it. Mentally, use it or lose it, and stay engaged in something that’s meaningful to you, whatever that is.”
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