Positive Aging

Promoting positive ageism requires a variety of approaches.

Ageism — when manifests as age-related bias and discrimination aimed at older people — has detrimental effects on all adults as they age, in particular seniors. Ageism can mean the attitudes we internalize about our bodies and our life chances over time. It’s the dreaded birthday; the off-handed remark about “feeling old” or “being too old”; disparaging jokes about seniors; or the paternalism that presumes older people as incapable of their own decision-making, antiquated in their viewpoints, or as asexual.

Ageism (coupled with ableism) helps explains the general lack of accessible spaces that make it possible for more frail older people, or people with disabilities, to participate fully in civic life. It’s the lack of positive and fuller representations of older people in media and the entertainment industry. And it’s the multiple ways in which public policies neglect, discriminate against, or underfund older people and their programs.

Extended Wings: A Play

Extended Wings is a play commissioned by Nanaimo Seniors Connect to build awareness about seniors’ social isolation among the public, engage them in post-performance discussion and inspire action.

Western Edge Theatre presents "Extended Wings" from Western Edge Theatre on Vimeo.

The script can be shared widely but interested parties should contact Michael Armstrong regarding performance rights.

Email: Michaelwrites@shaw.ca

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Seniors Are Cool: A Video

Aimed at children and teens. Developed by the i2i Intergenerational Society of Canada, this video is part of a national school curriculum to bring greater awareness to the issues of ageing, greater respect for individuals, particularly older adults, and to encourage on-going community based projects across the generations.

“Reframing Aging” Digital Film Festival

This project was completed in partnership with Vancouver Island University’s Digital Media Department. A practicum student from this department was recruited to coordinate the project.

The project goal was to facilitate an event that would not only create a toolkit of films for Seniors Connect to use as promotion to combat ageism, the discrimination of a person on the basis of their age, and senior isolation in Nanaimo, but to also provide an avenue to connect local seniors with youth/filmmakers and have them sharing stories and working together on a project everyone is invested in. Additionally, to inspire Nanaimo to become a more age-friendly, inclusive city.

The purpose for hosting the “re-framing aging” 2017 Video Competition was to challenge participants and filmmakers in the Nanaimo community to creatively re-frame aging in a positive light. The project aimed to get submissions that showcased the value of seniors and inspire inter-generational connections and understanding. The criteria were as follows:

Re-frame aging by creating a documentary, narrative, or animation that:

· Gives seniors a voice.
· Deconstructs myths of aging.
· Focuses on seniors’ strengths and contributions.

Submitted videos can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbkYXxBYuGNrmBYhJCxTnHg?reload=9

Materials to support developing a similar digital festival are found here:

Stand Our Ground demonstrates, in a lighthearted way, to both seniors and non-seniors, the diversity of our seniors’ population and shows seniors in a positive light. The video creates a conversation around seniors’ issues and advocates better consideration of seniors

The Living History Project offered Nanaimo residents aged 55 and over the opportunity to share their personal stories to a live audience in a public venue. The stories on the video are personal or about historical events that speakers took part in, or heard about from their parents. The objective of the project was to increase seniors’ sense of belonging, and acknowledge the value of their lives.

Seniors Celebrate

“Seniors Celebrate” was a month of activities/events designed or promoted by Nanaimo Seniors Connect Seniors in Action Group to show case and to celebrate seniors. It was carried out in October to align with National Seniors’ Day.

Materials developed that can be adapted:

Community Champion Awards Program

The “Community Champion” awards were envisioned and created by the Seniors in Action Group. The awards were created to recognize seniors in the community who go above and beyond helping other seniors to become more socially engaged, or who are leaders, volunteers and/or advocates. The awards were part of “Seniors Celebrate” month in October. All nominees were recognized publicly and received a certificate of recognition. Three winning submissions were selected by a committee and they received some additional prizes.

Materials developed that can be adapted:

  • Community Champion Award Application
  • Community Champion Awards Certificate

  • Gifts of a Lifetime: The Contributions of Older Adults

    This report was prepared by researchers from the University of Alberta in partnership with the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton (SAGE) Advocacy Committee in response to concerns that because of the increasing number of ‘baby boomers’ who were turning 65, older Canadians were being frequently stereotyped as a burden to our society, and a perceived threat to the sustainability of our health care system, our pension plans, and our income support programs. This report was developed to refute the stereotype, and identifies the many contributions that older Canadians make to Canadian society, as caregivers, as volunteers and donors, and as employees and taxpayers.

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