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Online conference held in Sudbury to provide health care options for seniors

Fourth-annual Ageing in Place conference held online for the first time
232020_LG_Ageing in place PHOTO
Photo capture of the Ageing in Place conference held in Sudbury on Friday with Greater Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger, left, and Home Instead community outreach coordinator Nikki Sage.

Sudbury's first ever online Ageing In Place conference was held Friday to give the city's elderly residents some information, advice and options on local health care services..

The event was sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care, a company that provides contract health care services for seniors and family caregivers. 

Nikki Sage, the community outreach coordinator for Home Instead, said the conference itself was not new for Sudbury. 

"So this is actually the fourth year of running the Ageing in Place conference and of course because of COVID-19 it looks completely different. We have taken the event and gone virtual. We know that system navigation with the health care sector is still quite a major struggle for family caregivers, older adults and with the community in general.

She said the restrictions of the pandemic has made navigating the health system even more difficult in most Northern Ontario communities. 

"So this event, the Ageing in Place conference, is actually going to be the first step to assist with some of the system navigation and allow you as an attendee to gather necessary information for you or a loved one," said Sage.

She explained that ageing in place means having the support that people need to remain safe and independent in their homes or communities. She said home can mean so many different things to people, whether it is a traditional house, an apartment, retirement living or the living space in a long-term care home.

"It is important that you know what services are available to you, that you know how to access those services and you have an avenue to do so," said Sage.

The online event featured several speakers who joined by video-conferencing. Greater Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger joined in a video link to thank the organizers for putting the online event together. The event agenda page has several of the recorded presentations. 

"This pandemic has been incredibly hard on all of us, including our seniors who have shown incredible resilience these last few months," said Bigger.  He added that as a person who continues to support two parents, he understands the challenges they face especially because of the pandemic.

Bigger said everyone wants the best treatment for their loved ones and he was encouraged to see so many individuals and organizations stepping forward to take part in the conference. He said the conference plays an important role in allowing seniors in Sudbury to stay safe, stay healthy, active and at the same time help to contribute to the overall low number of COVID-19 cases. 

During the five hour online event, several other speakers commenting about such things as having an ageing in place plan; coping with dementia and attending church; examining support measures and long-term care provided by government; performing yoga at home with tips on how to avoid falls; a presentation by Home Care Ontario; advice from a real estate broker; a presentation from Service Canada about e-Services and a presentation from the Canadian Mental Health Association for Sudbury/Manitoulin. 

The event agenda page has several of the recorded presentations available for playback for those who could not take part in the live event.

About the Author: Len Gillis, local journalism initiative reporter

Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at covering health care in northeastern Ontario and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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