2005-01-07 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

Dr. Geraldine Chapey
Dr. Geraldine Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

International Conference on Aging

The first international conference on “Towards a New Perspective: From Aging to Aging Well” was held recently in Montreal Quebec. I was invited to chair two panels at this conference.

The conference was organized under the auspices of the Foundation for Vital Aging, the CLSC Rene – Cassin/ Institute of Social Gerontology of Quebec, a center affiliated with the University of Montreal, the University of Quebec and McGill University in partnership with the International Federation on Aging (IFA) and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Association of Gerontology (IAG). The Conference provided a unique opportunity to bring together more than 600 delegates from 15 different countries. The participants were interested in a new perspective on gerontology, which would allow them to participate in an intersectorial international exchange that will promote a closer look between policy making, research, practice and the private sector. Professionals from various fields were in attendance: health care and social development professionals, researchers, government representatives and private sector representatives. The above information was obtained through an interview with Catherine Geoffrey, President of the Steering Committee of the International Conference, the Foundation of Vital Aging and the CLSC Renee-Cassin/Institute of Social Gerontology of Quebec.

The greatest achievement of the 20th Century is survival according to Alexandre Kalache of the World Health Organization (WHO). Healthy Aging is an issue that is of concern to everyone whether they are young or old. It is an indispensable element of the life long developmental process. Healthy seniors are valuable resources to their families, their communities and the economy. These principles are the guiding philosophy behind the WHO Active Aging Process Framework.

Gerald Tremblay, the Mayor of Montreal, noted that the aging of our citizens represents a major challenge for all communities. Adapting to the new extended life span will require creativity. It is important that we adjust our thinking and our policies to meet these new demands. Seniors are an important and valuable asset.

Michael Hockenstein, the President of the Foundation for Vital Aging, stated that the Conference would provide an impetus to promote a society in which everyone can age successfully. The information exchange at the Quebec conference challenges existing knowledge, and assist in readjusting our political, professional, corporate and public mindset regarding aging.

During the next several weeks I will continue to write about interesting aspects of the Canadian conference.

Recently the New York Post (Sunday, October 24, 2004 page 31) had a very interesting article on seniors entitled “Retirement Age”. It stated that “the aging workforce see retirement as a career move”. The article was written by Laura Petrecca. It selected several individuals to highlight that point: Former Disney Studios president Rich Frank who had retired three separate times, came back as a top player in the entertainment industry; Roger Clemens came out of retirement to help the Houston Astros to get to the playoffs and Joe Gibbs after his first retirement signed a reported $25 million dollar deal to put some life back in the Washington Redskins. Many companies choose to hire a retiree because they know the system and don’t require new training.

Today people in general are in relatively good health as they age. This comes from better nutrition, improved medical information and increased exercise.

Kudos to our community affairs officer of the 100th Precinct Ken Beecher. He has a genuine concern for people and our community. He always goes the extra mile to be sure that the needs of our community are met. He is a capable, energetic and tireless public advocate.

Please save Friday, May 20, for the Trinity Senior Services Spring Fling at Russo’s on the Bay at 12 Noon. Tickets are available in our office. Please call (718) 474-1641.

Congratulations to Robert Sullivan who was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Dayton Co-op. Bob is a people person. He always extends a helping hand to everyone. He is the President of the Advisory Council of the Seaside Adult Community Center (formerly known as The Hammels Center), and a member of the Board of Directors of Trinity Senior Services. He is a valued and active member of many community organizations.

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