Seniors set priorities for aging study

Walter Jones

Mount St. Vincent has been given $2 million to do a study on aging.

They have been holding sessions across Nova Scotia and I attended the one in Amherst at the YMCA. They appeared to be well organized with a moderator to move things along and four tables set up for discussion groups.Each table, in turn, had its own moderator and a person on a laptop to record the conversations.

There was a questionnaire to be filled out and an outline that would be followed, with specific questions to be answered.

The session started and chaos began, everyone at the different tables were trying to give their input to the question that had been put to the group and the noise level was so intense that it was almost impossible to hear what was going on.

We were told to lean in, but while this helped some it was certainly not the solution. I did find out one thing though, a whole lot of older people detest being called senior citizens. Who would have thought?

I wanted to plug how to keep seniors in their homes, rather than warehousing them in homes for special care. I was also concerned with the governments maybe looking at the bottom line for service to seniors.

The bottom line is important, but if you get there by taking on for profit companies, that hire minimum wage workers, maybe it is not that good.

When you are buying a service it seems to me that the quality of service should be utmost. To be fair, I think that the Mount St. Vincent group were trying to see if they could see some way of increasing the quality of life for people in homes for special care. It did seem though as if they might be leaning towards increasing volunteers, to accomplish this.

They had questions at the end that we were supposed to rank in order of importance. At three tables, being healthy and active came out as the Number 1 choice as being the most important.

Our table was a bit more pragmatic, and voted aging in place as the top choice. Aging in place means we can stay in our own homes until we die.

While staying healthy and active is certainly important, the sad fact is that as we age we are not healthy or active. I have another column in mind on what we need to do to accomplish this.

Walter Jones’ column appears weekly in the Amherst News.