Leaving no one behind while “Navigating the Tides of Aging”

Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Blessing was awarded a Gilbrea Travel Award to facilitate her travel to the Canadian Association on Gerontology 2019 conference – 'Navigating the Tides of Aging Together' - held in Moncton, NB (October 24-26, 2019).

By: Blessing Ojembe

The Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) is a multi-disciplinary association in Canada comprised of researchers, academics, policymakers and health practitioners interested in the Canadian aging population and aging issues. CAG’s 48th Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting was hosted by the University of Moncton.

The opening keynote lecture this year was given by Martin Hyde, which he titled, “Ageing in a Global Context: New Spatial Dynamics of Later Life”Dr. Hyde emphasized the impact of globalisation and how it has changed the experience of aging and later life, specifically outlining how global and state formation affect older adults. This discourse is very timely, considering the plethora of evidence which proves that the number of older adults affected by globalization directly or indirectly is increasing by the day. It is either older adults are migrating, or their family members are migrating.In factas Dr. Hyde noted, older adults are not just affected indirectly by globalisation, rather, they are active agents in this global process. In follow up to this issue, several sessions within the conference focused on older immigrants and the challenges they face in Canada and across the globe, and important discussions were had about the way in which we might start addressing these issues. One of which includes, creating an inclusive policy and addressing social isolation among immigrant older adults in Canada.  

One thing that stood out about the conference, was the planning, organization and the rich content of research that was presented during different sessions of the conference. The sessions were very informative and covered an impressive range of issues, which undoubtedly highlights the importance of multidimensional research and practices in aging. For instance, one of the pre-conference sessions that I attended looked at “Supporting Age-Friendly Communities in Canada: What do we know and what do we need to know?”. It was a session that attempted to understand the things that are not working well, in regard to older adults and their built environment. It was interesting to see that policymakers are asking questions on what needs to be done to have a more friendly cities, with older adults at the heart of it. 

CAG 2019 also was a great opportunity for me to present my paper titled: “Television, radio, and telephone: Tools for reducing loneliness among older adults in Nigeria” and exchange ideas with other researchers on the issue of aging, loneliness and social isolation. It was also a great opportunity to meet with other students who were interested in aging research from within and outside Canada.

My sincere gratitude goes to Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging and the Department of Health, Aging and Society for supporting my work and my trip to Moncton to attend this year’s conference and I look forward to attending CAG 2020.