Optimal aging: 4 key themes the experts are talking about

Last month, global experts on ageing came to Toronto for a three-day conference to share the latest research and how it can help older adults and their caregivers. While many important topics were discussed, four key themes became clear:

1. Combating ageism
Ageism is an everyday challenge for many older adults. Older people who feel they are a burden may also perceive their lives to be less valuable, which can affect their health and well-being. By combatting ageism, we can empower and motivate older adults to achieve new things, help older adult’s live life to the fullest.

2. Healthy aging
Health is crucial to how we experience older age. How long we live is important, but the focus of healthy aging is on maintaining quality of life and reducing the risk for developing chronic disease. It is possible to take a preventive approach to your well-being and add more life to your older years.

3. Age-friendly environments
Age-friendly cities and other communities allow older adults to maintain social connections and a certain level of independence. By supporting age-friendly housing, such as modified residences, older adults are able to stay in their homes for longer. Ensuring that public spaces and transportation are accessible will also help enable people to stay independent and play active roles in their communities.

4. Addressing inequalities
Social inequalities can lead to violence, social isolation, discrimination and more. Increased awareness of these inequalities, and greater discussion amongst those who experience mistreatment, may help improve attitudes and outcomes in the long-term.

We have compiled resources with some of the latest research as it relates to these four key themes. Read more on the issues that matter most to you.

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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of these blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with current social distancing recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.

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