The Greater Sudbury Seniors Summit 2019 – A Call to Action, was held on Thursday, Oct. 24, with more than 400 participants gathering at the Caruso Club in Sudbury for a community conversation about seniors’ issues and concerns.
The group included persons of all ages with an interest in the future of older adults living in Greater Sudbury.
Seniors, family caregivers, professional service providers from the public and private sector, city staff from a wide variety of departments, the CAO and general managers from the city, as well as the mayor and some city councillors attended the event along with members of the general public.
Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré, whose private members bill lead to the establishment of a National Seniors’ Strategy, also spoke to the group.
During the day, participants met in small groups at individual tables to identify the main issues and concerns facing seniors today, and then took time to examine some possible solutions and potential plans of action that might address these concerns.
A total of 161 action initiative recommendations resulted from their discussions. Out of this total, 82 of the initiatives seem to be city responsibilities, which will require funding and/or policy implementation from the municipality.
A total of 79 appear to fall under the category of community-based initiatives, which for the most part can be implemented by family caregivers, community organizations and individuals from neighbourhoods and small geographic areas within the city.
Each of the action initiatives has been grouped into one of the eight Age Friendly Strategy pillars, namely: Outdoor Spaces and Buildings; Transportation; Housing; Social Participation; Respect & Social Inclusion; Civic Participation & Employment; Communication & Information; and Community Support & Health Services.
On Thursday, Nov. 21, a follow-up session will be held at the Caruso Club from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to review the action initiatives from Oct. 24. This will be an opportunity to further clarify some of the original 161 action initiatives to ensure that they capture the intent of the Day 1 Seniors’ Summit participants.
It will also provide an opportunity to add some additional initiatives that are deemed to be a priority moving forward. At the conclusion of this session, the action initiatives that are established will form the basis of a Greater Sudbury Seniors’ Strategy.
The participants who attend the Nov. 21 session will also be providing suggestions on the next steps that should be taken by the Seniors Advisory Panel in order to implement the community-based initiatives that are included in the Call to Action.
Even more importantly, participants will be asked to identify their own individual next steps, as they become personally empowered to reach out to all older adults in their own neighbourhoods.
The Seniors Advisory Panel will provide recommendations to city council in an effort to address many of the initiatives that must be implemented by the city. But in order to ensure an enriched quality of life for all seniors in the Greater Sudbury area, we are going to need help from community groups and caring neighbours.
This shift in responsibility for the health and well-being of older adults is going to be critical moving forward. Family caregivers and long term care institutions can only do so much. We are all going to have to embrace the challenges facing our seniors in the coming years.
It is hoped that events such as the Seniors’ Summit 2019 will help pave the way towards a better future for people of all ages who want to live in the City of Greater Sudbury.
If you would like to register for the Nov. 21 follow-up session, phone 311 and ask to speak with Jody Edwards at ext. 3565. Or you can email email@example.com.
There is no charge to attend. Breakfast will be available at 8:30 a.m. and there will be a morning coffee break as well as a buffet lunch. We expect another 400 people to attend this event, so you should register in advance if possible.
We will also take registrations at the door.
This is such an important community conversation that we want everyone with an interest in the future of our seniors to have an opportunity to share their concerns.
Robert Kirwan is the Greater Sudbury city councillor for Ward 5