Seasonal Network Gathering – November 2023
“Celebrating Age Friendly in All We Do” was the theme of the Network gathering held on November 24th at the Chateau Louis. About 70 community and organization members and volunteers came together at the network gathering to help celebrate age friendly.
There was also a second reason to celebrate.
Age Friendly principles and values will now be more prominently embedded into our growing “NETWORK”.
Over the past year, the “NETWORK” and the Age Friendly Edmonton initiative have worked together to merge their shared vision for our sector and combine the two leadership groups into one stewardship group.
The day started off with a keynote address from former City of Edmonton Councillor and community activist Michael Phair.
“As you look forward to working as a network you have this opportunity to listen to their stories and to help them see that their lives mattered, and this is a gift that they pass on to us.”
Michael challenged us to look to Indigenous culture, inclusion, respect & age-friendliness. “You are growing into another kind of community & it’s going to be a journey.”
A panel discussion with community members shared age friendly successes within their organizations. Panelist included: Johnna Lowther from Caregivers Alberta; Shelley Williams from South East Edmonton Seniors Association; and Yvonne Chiu from Multicultural Health Brokers.
Founded in 2001 by a group of concerned caregivers, Caregivers Alberta strives to empower caregivers and promote their well-being by providing resources, mental health support, and education for Albertans caring for family members or friends.
Johnna showcased the variety of programs offered to Caregiver’s across Alberta, which support aging well. Caregivers Alberta offers peer support programs, workshops, and compass for the caregiver training to provide education to support those aging in place. She shared a story of a caregiver, an independent strong woman, who found herself caring for multiple family members. Through these programs she learned to plan ahead, manage her stress, and better support those she was caring for and herself.
South East Edmonton Seniors Association –
The place for people 55+ to have fun, learn, share, and join in activities that keep us active and healthy. Shelley shared that SEESA incorporates Age Friendliness in all that they do. SEESA provides a variety of programming, to a variety of members, with a variety of interest, from a variety of ages. Shelley spoke to the positive connection intergenerational programs offer. As an organization SEESA saw the positive impacts of hosting the local Girl Guides, Francophone summer camp, and student placements. Members and the students enjoyed activities together such as yoga, clogging, art, woodworking, crafting, and storytelling. Seniors and students alike are creating memories together. Shelley shared that most importantly what has resulted from intergenerational projects is the ability to demystify elements of aging for younger populations, reciprocal learning, advocacy, and most importantly fun.
Multicultural Health Brokers –
Multicultural Health Brokers co-operative (MCHB) emerged out of a public health initiative in early nineties to enhance maternal and infant health within immigrant & refugee communities. Yvonne shared a model that was created in collaboration with Sage and ESCC in 2005. She highlighted the importance of recognizing ethnocultural seniors as the carriers of knowledge and the need to recognize the gifts that multilingual seniors bring. She also expressed the challenge and everyday struggles multicultural seniors experience with systems, lack of supports and language barriers. The Model demonstrates the need for organizations to honor relationships, connect with seniors and connect with systems as we work to help seniors. While developed in 2005 the model is still relevant, perhaps even more relevant today as the sector continues our shared efforts to support systems change.
Glenda Tarnowski, former co-chair shared many highlights and accomplishments of Age Friendly Edmonton over the years. “Volunteers have been our greatest strength” helping to make Edmonton a community that values, respects and actively supports the wellbeing of older adults. See a compilation of photos here.
Network Gatherings are a great way to network and build relationships with others. There are a number of ways to stay informed and involved.
- Keep updated by reading ESCC’s monthly Link Letter – subscribe here.
- Attend future Network Gatherings as dates will be advertised in the Link Letter.
- There will be opportunities in 2024 to join the Stewardship group in a leadership role. Stay tuned for more information.