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Kirwan: Baby boomers are now seniors, and city needs a strategy to care for them

Greater Sudbury Seniors’ Summit 2019 takes place Oct. 24, and you're invited
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Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan. (Supplied)

October 1 is National Seniors Day in Canada. It is a time to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions that the 30,000 residents of the City of Greater Sudbury who are 65 years of age and have made to our community in the past and how they continue to play an active and meaningful role to so many people in so many ways today.

This is also an opportunity for the 48,000 residents between the ages of 45 and 64 to think seriously about their elderly parents and/or relatives who are depending upon them to provide some level of caregiving as they continue to face the challenges which will come up during their senior years. 

Questions such as where are you going to access the services that are going to be needed to address the increasingly complex levels of care that will be required in the coming years? Or simply who offers such?

We have known for decades that this was coming, but for the most part, we have failed to prepare for the inevitable. 

The baby boom generation is aging, and with almost 54,000 people 55 years of age and older in the City of Greater Sudbury, we desperately need to put in place strategic action plans that will address the needs of our aging population before it is too late.

The time has come for us to identify the real issues facing seniors living in the City of Greater Sudbury and to come up with a practical plan of action that we can implement locally as a community. 

We need a Greater Sudbury Seniors’ Strategy in order to make sure that we have the necessary infrastructure in place to meet the needs of seniors over the next several decades. 

Many groups and organizations have spent years discussing a wide variety of options, but most have hit barriers, largely because of a lack of coordination and a lack of funds.

The Seniors’ Advisory Panel to Mayor and Council has decided to take what we hope will be a giant leap into the future by calling everyone in the community with any kind of interest in improving the health and well-being of our seniors to the Greater Sudbury Seniors’ Summit 2019. 

The Seniors’ Summit will take place Oct. 24, and will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Caruso Club on Haig Street in Sudbury.

The Seniors’ Summit is open to older adults, anyone who provides care to family members who are older adults, professional service providers, long term care employees, municipal workers, social service organizations, health care providers, volunteers who help out in senior centers, and basically anyone who is interested in the future of our senior citizens. 

The event is free of charge and free transportation will be provided by GOVA public transit. Pre-summit refreshments and snacks will be provided starting at 8 a.m. and a buffet lunch will be provided at no cost to participants. 

All we ask is that you come to the summit prepared to talk and share your own lived-experiences and brainstorm with others for the full day as we try to come up with very specific action plans that can be implemented. 

We want the summit to result in a revolutionary movement across the City that will demonstrate our collective commitment to seniors living in the Greater Sudbury Area.

There will be three parts to the day. Participants will be working in small groups of 8 individuals, changing groups every session so that you have an opportunity to engage directly with over 20 others during the day. We will have several francophone tables available for people who are more comfortable communicating in the French language. 

We will begin by identifying the main issues facing seniors and their caregivers (both paid caregivers and non-paid caregivers who are family and friends). We will then brainstorm for solutions to all of the issues identified during the first session. 

Finally, we will develop very specific, practical plans of action that we have the ability, resources, and authority to implement immediately within the City of Greater Sudbury. 

We want to mobilize our community as quickly as possible so that we can address the urgent needs of our older adults. 

We would like to see at least 400 people coming together for the Seniors’ Summit Oct. 24. 

If you would like to register, please contact Patricia Cote by phone at 705-674-4455, ext. 4760 and leave your name and contact information. Or you can register by sending Patricia your information to patricia.cote@greatersudbury.ca.

Robert Kirwan is the Greater Sudbury city councillor for Ward 5. He can be reached at robert.kirwan@greatersudbury.com.




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