Celebrating National Seniors Day with CourAGE
COVID-19 has shone a public light on many important issues at the heart of aging, from safety and independence, to quality of life, human connection and wellbeing.
As Canadians come together to mark National Seniors Day, two leading healthcare organizations — SE Health and the Covenant family — are working to build a better future where older adults can age with dignity and grace through a new initiative called CourAGE: Action for Better Aging.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on older adults and raised important questions about safety, independence and quality of life as many seniors struggle to live at home without co-ordinated supports. A recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund showed that, among 11 high-income countries, older adults in Canada were the most likely to say they did not receive needed help with daily activities because services were cancelled or very limited during the pandemic.
“As we look around the world, we know that Canada is lagging behind, with an outdated, institutionalized approach to elder care that is neither desirable nor sustainable. To move forward, we need to work together to build a bold and practical roadmap for change — and that’s where CourAGE comes in,” said Janet Davidson, a healthcare consultant and member of the pan-Canadian leadership committee that is helping to guide the initiative.
“When it comes to health care, I feel like we’ve been through it all,” said Barbara Weigelt, a 74-year-old caregiver who has supported her husband through a string of serious, life-threatening health issues. “It got to the point where they said he needed palliative care. We didn’t want him to spend his final days in an institution, missing out on the special moments of life, so we decided to bring him home. It literally saved his life.” The experience and support her family received have made Weigelt a passionate advocate for home care.
The CourAGE initiative will solicit the voices and ideas of older adults and engage key influencers across a wide range of sectors. Together, we will explore new thinking about aging and integrative models to support Canadians with quality of life, choice and independence as they get older. The end result will be an action plan for change that harnesses the power of innovation, design thinking and technology.
Over the summer, the CourAGE team delved into the volume of research into aging over the past decade, gathering insights and inspiration from some of the most compelling models and practices to support older adults to live at home. The resulting discussion paper serves as both a sounding board and an open invitation to anyone interested in aging in Canada to get involved in building bridges for change.
To be part of the conversation and join the movement, visit actionforbetteraging.ca and follow the hashtag #beCourAGEous on social media.
About CourAGE: Action for Better Aging
The CourAGE initiative is led by SE Health and the Covenant family, Canadian leaders in the seniors’ living and care sectors working to deliver and promote a positive future for older adults. We champion an approach that supports options for older adults to have choice and dignity — ensuring that Canadians can grow old in their communities and older adults can live well, feel connected and have a sense of fulfillment every day. With ties to a broad network of stakeholders across Canada, CourAGE will be a catalyst for actions and approaches that can be put into practice and spread through the country.
Madonna Gallo, SE Health, firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-882-7930
Marguerite Watson, Covenant Health, email@example.com or 780-394-7027