This year, CARP led the National Conversation on Preventive Health and Aging; a series of educational events across Canada.
These events served to inform, educate and empower seniors to take control of their health by learning about the latest innovations affecting the wellness of our aging population.
Speakers presented on a broad range of engaging topics including population health, vaccinations, physical literacy and active aging, social inclusion, diabetes, and brain health. The events lent a pan-Canadian focus, while also giving attendees the critical information necessary to manage their health while connecting with their local community service providers. Kicking off in Vancouver earlier this year, the series of 6 events culminated in Winnipeg, MB on Nov 4th.
“We featured 80 speakers and engaged over 1000 participants in these events across the country,” says Jana Ray, Chief Benefits and Membership Officer at CARP. “A combination of CARP members, older adults, sectoral and government stakeholders made up the vast majority of people who joined the conversation.”
CARP is also embarking on it’s Keep Canada Healthy Campaign, pressing provincial governments across the country to fully-fund the best vaccines for adults over 65 for the prevention of influenza (flu), herpes zoster (shingles) and pneumococcal infections (pneumonia). Access is currently non-existent (at worst) and inconsistent or unaffordable (at best), across Canada.
“We know that seniors across Canada struggle to gain easy and affordable access to the vaccines they need to stay out of the hospital,” explains Ray. “As Governments look to revolutionize health care delivery, they also have a duty to take a proactive approach to ensure older adults are protected against illnesses that represent very real and persistent threats to their lives.”
Presented in partnership with United Way of Lower Mainland BC, AGE-WELL, NICE Network, International Federation on Ageing (IFA), Sanofi Pasteur, GSK, Pfizer, Canadian Frailty Network, and others, the series is sure to be a catalyst for an evolving conversation about seniors’ preventive health. Until every older adult in Canada has barrier-free access to the critical vaccines they need to stay healthy, the fight continues.
“This is just the beginning of our work in this area,” says Ray. “Seniors are still dying every year from vaccine preventable diseases. It’s totally unacceptable.”
“The clear message that echoed throughout the series is that we’re all growing older—let’s add life to years, versus simply adding years to life,” she adds. “All of our lives depend on government finding a balanced solution between preventive initiatives and the rising cost of (reactive) health care costs.”