Ageing in Place: 2017 NIA Conference Focus

One year after their first conference, the Ryerson based National Institute on Ageing is holding a one-day event in Toronto on November 23rdEnvisioning Ageing in Place. This is good to see especially because the NIA has taken a focused approach on one topic area as a drill down from the wider sweeping event held last November. Planet Longevity members will attend again this year.

Communities are now and into the future going through significant redesign as we consider how, not only older populations will be making new choices on how they want to live, but also younger generations. It’s a mistake to think that this discussion about “options for ageing in place” is only about “ageing Boomers” as the note for one of the opening speakers suggests.

As I repeatedly say, decisions we make today about overall community design, individual home design and alternative options for adapting for ageing in place are just as much a concern for those in Gen-X who are now entering their 50’s and are serving in roles as caregivers for older parents. And for that matter even those south of age 40, are watching and listening even though it may not appear so.

NIAThe four panel presentations at the 2017 NIA conference look quite solid and should not only be of relevance to the individual but especially for those whose business or career focus is on serving the changing needs of an ageing population as the years ahead unfold. In many ways in fact, we have not really reached the crest of the demographic curve where those Boomers meet their older age.

Yet, this is all the more reason why we should think ahead on this matter of envisioning ageing in place. How will this trend play out? How, for example, will Real Estate agents interact more effectively when older clients decide a downsize move? How would a network of municipal planners, realtors, home designers and contractors work to present a unified offering in partnerships with care consultants and community services?

Later life living is not going to be an even experience for everyone, in spite of how advertising messages currently present “adult living” or “retirement living” to silver haired, smiling, affluent, reasonably healthy agile “seniors”. How will ageing in place accommodate everyday people as they age, who will potentially be unable to do so for whatever reason, healthily or financially? That question is of growing importance.

With that in mind for me therefore, the final NIA conference panel of the day will be one that merits more focus, longer than the hour allows. Lisa Salapatek, the Chief Program & Public Policy Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Ontario will lead the discussion on Emerging Residential Models for Complex and/or Specialized Populations to Age in Place. Of course Alzheimer’s as huge a concern as we know it to be, is but one of the many pieces that may live alongside other conditions in this complexity.

While technologies for ageing in place will likely thread discussions at this conference, the fact that this theme appears to be absent from the preliminary agenda is not bothersome, in the sense that while it cannot be excluded from the equation, it certainly gets more than its share of attention at other designated events. Everything considered, this conference is worthy of attending. Ageing in place is increasingly becoming a major part of everyday family conversations.


Mark Venning