A Day of Intergenerational Learning – Blog Post
Seminar Three: Transforming Aged Care: Innovations from Down Under, presented by Dr. Irene Blackberry, Professor, La Trobe University. Blog Written by: Len Collins (SHARE Network Older Adult Representative), Michelle Gao (FHS UG project course Placement Student), Mason McLeod (SHARE Coordinator), and Amna Zaidi (Student Research Assistant on the Intergenerational Project
About the series: The Gilbrea Centre Seminar Series, held annually, creates an opportunity for the exchange of ideas and stimulates discussion amongst associate researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, community members and older people. Throughout the year, we have been hosting seminars with diverse research groups and networks to explore this year’s chosen theme “(in)securities”. This theme has allowed us to further explore several of Gilbrea’s thematic program areas which respond to contemporary and future issues facing older people. For more information: https://gilbrea.mcmaster.ca/events/?event-categories-0=annual-seminar-series
About the speaker: Dr. Irene Blackberry is the John Richards Chair and Director of the Care Economy Research Institute at La Trobe University in Australia. She has over 20 years of research experience across the Care Economy in Australia and abroad, predominantly in healthcare, aged care, and informal care sectors. Her research examines access to care and models of care that are innovative, effective, and sustainable, building skills in individuals and greater capacity of the whole-of-community to support people from diverse backgrounds and rural communities. Most recently, she focuses on addressing the care crisis by breaking down the siloing of care sectors. She is the leading force behind Australia’s Care Economy research, including developing an industry-led research partnership program on the Care Economy, establishing the Care Economy Collaborative Network, and becoming the Inaugural Director of Australia’s first Care Economy Research Institute.
To kick off the Seminar Series in the new year, Gilbrea was joined by a visiting international speaker, Dr Blackberry on January 10, 2024. Earlier in the day, before her presentation, Dr Blackberry was accompanied by the SHARE Research Knowledge and Translation (RKT) Group for a Lunch and Learn. During this time, older adults had the opportunity to meet Dr Blackberry and engage in conversations about the Australian healthcare system, the care economy, as well as the challenges associated with the healthcare system in Canada. The conversations between the RKT Group and Dr Blackberry were very insightful and the group really enjoyed having lunch with her.
The seminar, titled ‘Transforming Aged Care: Innovations from Down Under’ was held in L.R. Wilson room 1003, as well as on Zoom. Len, a SHARE Network Older Adult Representative and Michelle, a project course placement student, volunteered to moderate the seminar.
Len shared a few things that stood out to him from Dr Blackberry’s presentation: “The concept of a “Care Culture” that covered everything from birth, domestic violence, to Alzheimer’s was I think a unique way of approaching health care and aging. Here in Canada we seem to have separate silos for each aspect and nothing or no one tying them together. When asked about public/private health care she indicated it was working fine in Australia, that’s reassuring given the direction Ontario is currently on. I didn’t appreciate the difficulty that the distances impose on rural Australians, 3-4 hours one way to check on a Sr patient was enlightening thus the use of technology to assist in healthy aging. I thought the idea of Alzheimer’s communities on a winery was innovative and given the large number of wineries in Niagara, I thought it was a win/win idea”.
Michelle shared insights: “It was very interesting to hear about how the concept of aging is being approached in Australia from Dr. Blackberry. I think there is always a lot of value in learning about how other countries are tackling some of the issues facing the aging population and possibly drawing inspiration from those that are doing it well. The Care Economy appears to be an innovative way to improve care for older adults, and I’m curious to see how it will develop in the future!”
The Gilbrea Centre would like to thank Dr. Blackberry for an insightful and educational afternoon. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the older adults and students who attended the seminar for their engagement.
Watch the recorded seminar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQxUAfBkcqY
See what Dr Blackberry is up to: https://x.com/IreneBlackberry?s=20Uncategorized