CAG2018 Vancouver - wear comfy walking shoes and bring a touque
Kelly Y. Ng, BCom., MSc., Gerontology PBD Candidate
The significance of research in Aging!
The sun was shining, the fall tree colours were lining the streets with the Northshore mountains in the back drop of beautiful Vancouver, making it difficult to be indoors for the annual Canadian Association of Gerontology 2018, but the Conference brought added beauty to the beautiful city!
It was three full-days (in extremely air conditioned rooms, btw) of research and education highlighting the complexities and importance surrounding aging. Simon Fraser University’s Gerontology Department hosted the event held at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre located in the heart of downtown.
The event brought together researchers, educators and practitioners. The theme of the conference was “Making it Matter: Mobilizing Research, Practice & Policy” and it truly did showcase the extensive research that is influencing the gerontological field today.
An abundance of topics were discussed from Long-Term Care, Clinical Practice, to Engagement, Innovative Arts Learning Interventions, to Dementia, Mental Health Well-Being, LGBTQ2s Seniors, to Abuse, to Environments and Housing, to Caregiving and Policy for older adults. With so many presentations, keynotes, workshops and symposiums it was difficult to attend all I had planned. I found myself moving from one room to another, to the 4th floor, then to the ballroom, then back to main floor, hence the need for the comfy walking shoes! Perhaps fewer categories would have helped in condensing the presentations, or is this merely an indication of the current needs that exist in this field?
A highlight of the event was the poster sessions, where researchers and on-lookers had intellectual discussions surrounding the research, the gaps, and the current environment regarding our aging population. I had the opportunity to discuss National Policy Considerations on Aging and Physical Activity, since this directly correlates to my initiatives of yoga benefits on the aging body and mind for older adults (https://avatarayoga.com/). We discussed the gaps and missing elements in current policies as well as the need to build more awareness surrounding the guidelines for the amount of physical activity recommended for older adults, in-turn reducing the health issues resulting from sedentary behaviour. Additionally, it opened discussions related to the limited services available for the cohort of ages 55 to 70 years and the potential opportunities for business and government organizations.
My one issue is that the conference focused mainly on academia which limited the audience to mostly professors, researchers, and students. In the future, it would be advantageous to encourage politicians, policy makers and influencers, as well, as corporations that are impacted by older adults and the aging population, to attend for candid discussions and opportunities to make effective change.