National Seniors Day - October 1
October 1 is National Seniors Day, an occasion for all Canadians to appreciate and celebrate older adults. The intent of National Seniors Day is to showcase the contribution seniors make to Canadian society and the Canadian economy. The federal government acknowledges, “seniors contribute in many ways, including by sharing their experiences, expertise, and knowledge with other generations… The contribution of seniors is invaluable and ongoing.” The BC Community Response Network's intent in connecting to National Seniors Day is to bring awareness to abuse, neglect, and self-neglect among vulnerable seniors.
Statistics Canada indicates, “the number of persons aged 65 and older [in 2020] was estimated at 985,812 persons, accounting for approximately 19% of all the residents in BC. Senior population is projected to steadily increase to represent almost 25% of all BC residents (or 1,607,284 persons) in 2041. This will represent a 63% growth in the senior population between 2020 and 2041.”
As the population of seniors in BC continues to grow, and as life expectancies continue to increase, there is a growing focus on the risks and concerns affecting older adults. Indeed, older adults often contend with barriers relating to advance care planning, ageism, finances, transportation, housing, and much more.
Ageism affects everyone at any age; however, older adults and seniors are particularly vulnerable to experiencing the negative implications of ageism. Ageism affects how we view others and how we view ourselves, and “can erode solidarity between generations, can devalue or limit our ability to benefit from what younger and older populations can contribute, and can impact our health, longevity and well-being while also having far-reaching economic consequences. For example, ageism is associated with earlier death (by 7.5 years), poorer physical and mental health, and slower recovery from disability in older age” (WHO, 2021).
Ageism is practiced everywhere - in government, business, retail, education and health care, to name a few sectors. Just check out how many ads try to sell their products based on their anti-aging properties. It's interesting that society views aging in a negative way when we're all going to be senior one day!
Show you care. Reaching out to older adults around you doesn't have to take much time – here are a few ways to show them they are valued and appreciated:
- Reach out to a neighbor to wish them well
- Take a walk together
- Cook a meal together
- Treat them to a lunch or coffee break
- Send a card to a senior you care about
- Smile and just say “hi” when you pass a senior on the street
- Post a message on the 'Seniors in Canada' Facebook page
- The BC Community Response Networks (BC CRNs) raise awareness of senior abuse and neglect in over 80 communities in BC. Local CRNs in Victoria, the Westshore, the Saanich Peninsula and the southern Gulf Islands offer information and workshops on how the community at large and local organizations can work towards creating a safe and respectful society for senior members of our communities. Visit www.bccrns.ca to learn more.