KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Dr. Kenneth Ferraro

Kenneth F. Ferraro, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and the founding Director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course at Purdue University. He is the author of 120 peer-reviewed articles focusing on health and aging. He is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and former editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences

Professor Ferraro's scholarly contributions appear in top journals such as American Journal of Public Health, American Sociological Review, and Journal of Gerontology.  Several of his articles won publication awards from professional societies, including the Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award from GSA. His recent book, The Gerontological Imagination: An Integrative Paradigm of Aging, identifies intellectual common ground among scholars from various disciplines studying aging.

Innovations in the Science of Aging

Recent breakthrough discoveries in the science of aging are transforming the way we think about growing older and stimulating cross-disciplinary research to optimize the aging process. In this keynote, Professor Ferraro will identify two notable discoveries:

  • The health consequences of meaningful social engagement in later life
  • Multidirectional change, including the possibility of reversing functional trajectories associated with growing older

Both discovieries highlight the modifiability of the aging process and are core to the integrative paradigm he articulates in his book, The Gerontological Imagination.

WORKSHOPS

Eddy Elmer

Eddy Elmer was appointed to the City of Vancouver Seniors’ Advisory Committee for three terms, from 2012-2018. During that time, he advised City Council on a variety of issues related to aging, and suggested solutions to gaps and barriers that prevent older adults from participating fully in civic life. His primary focus on the Committee was proposing solutions to prevent or reduce social isolation and loneliness. Eddy is now a member of the Board of Directors of the British Columbia Psychogeriatric Association and is working on his PhD in social gerontology from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, studying marginalization and loneliness in older LGBTQ+ adults. He also has a secondary interest in the effects of social isolation and loneliness on another marginalized population: older offenders in the correctional system.

Reducing and Preventing Social Isolation and Loneliness Among Older Adults: Recommendations from the City of Vancouver Seniors’ Advisory Committee

In this workshop, participants will be briefed on findings from the Social Isolation and Loneliness Among Seniors (SILAS) Project, a year-long study by the City of Vancouver Seniors’ Advisory Committee. The project involved an extensive literature review on the causes and consequences of chronic isolation and loneliness among older adults, followed by a series of community consultations with 200 senior service providers, policymakers, academics, and older adults themselves. Based on the review and consultations, a report was tabled with 23 practical recommendations for municipalities, service providers, caregivers, and others wishing to tackle isolation and loneliness in their communities. After providing a brief overview of the research findings, Eddy will highlight key recommendations from the report. Following will be a group discussion to identify possible challenges in implementing the recommendations at both the individual and community level. By understanding how social isolation and loneliness can be reduced and, ideally, prevented, it is hoped that participants will feel more confident in helping older adults improve their overall wellbeing.

Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller

Talking About Death Won't Kill You: The Essential Guide to End-of-Life Conversations

Kathy Kortes-Miller, MSW, PhD, has a passion for palliative care and improving the end-of-life care for all. She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work and the Palliative Care Division Lead at the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health (CERAH) at Lakehead University.

Dr. Kortes-Miller is a sought after speaker and educator nationally and internationally and leverages her personal experiences with cancer and as a palliative care provider to challenge us to have the important conversations about dying, death and life. Her research is interdisciplinary and collaborative contributing to a broad range of fields of study including: social work, thanatology, palliative care, interprofessional education, gerontology and LGBTQ. She was a long-standing member of the board of directors for Hospice Northwest and in March 2018 published the best selling book Talking About Death Won’t Kill You with ECW Press.

Martin Krajcik

Martin Krajcik, MSW, is the LGBTQI2S Older Adults' Projects Officer at Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, overseeing the only national LGBTQI2S seniors portfolio in Canada. His work involves: overseeing research to identify issues affecting older LGBTQI2S adults across the country; implementing transformative communications, awareness and direct service projects on local and national scales; and making recommendatoins to all levels of governments, institutions and individuals to improve the well-being and visibility of LGBTQI2S older adults. In this capacity, he works closely with Egale's National Seniors Advisory Council (NSAC), a group of prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, Two-Spirit seniors and allies from across the country.

Prior to this, he shared his passion supporting LGBTQI2S older adults by serving as a human rights instructor and workshop facilitator. With over eighteen years of teaching experience, he has delivered workshops to social workers, PSWs, police officers, teachers, school administrators, and other members of the public, with the goal of creating safer and more accepting spaces and communities for LGBTQI2S older adults. His vision is a Canada where LGBTQI2S older adults are visible and celebrated all across the country.

Robert Nelder

Robert Nelder is a member of the Senior Pride Network (SPN), a program for seniors at the 519 Community Centre, and is presently on SPN's Education Committee. He is also on the National Seniors Advisory Council (NSAC) to Egale Human Rights Trust. NSAC is a group of LGBTQ+ Senior and allies from across Canada working to improve the quality of life of Queer seniors in Canada by advising Egale on seniors' issues and activities, fostering nation-wide partnerships and collaboration, and identifying opportunities for Egale to support the work of local organizations across Canada.

Through SPN and NSAC, Mr. Nelder has co-developed and co-presented workshops to those who work with or advocate for the rights of senior members of LGBTQ+ communities including those in long-term care homes, nursing homes, hospitals, medical centres, and social work students. He has also been involved in LTC homes as a Home Advisory Council member and has assisted in the organizing of Gender and Sexuality Alliances at True Davidson and Rekai LTC homes in Toronto.

Cultural Competency as a Tool for Justice for Senior Members of the LGBTQ+ Community

Those who work in fields such as social work, medicine, hospital staff, social services, as well as long-term care facilities and retirement homes, are the very people who are on the frontlines and who are faced with social justice issues that affect queer seniors.

These workers need to be supported in their struggles to be justice providers and advocates for the disenfranchised LGBTQ+ seniors in their care. In this cultural competency workshop, Robert Nelder and Martin Krajcik will provide a model that could be altered or adapted to meet the needs of specific workers, agencies, and service providers. The workshop will be interactive, including a discussion with participants of their personal values and how those values mirror their sense of social justice in their work fields today. While the workshop will be informative, hopefully, it will be transformative as well.

Jane Meadus

Jane Meadus is a staff lawyer and the Institutional Advocate at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE). She represents clients in long-term care homes, hospitals, psychiatric facilities and care homes (retirement homes) with respect to related legal issues. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from McMaster University, an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa, and was called to the bar in Ontario in 1993. Jane practiced in the private bar until joining ACE in 1995.

Jane is the author of Chapter 9: Medical Issues, Housing Costs and Special Care Arrangement: Practical Considerations in the loose-leaf service Financial & Estate Planning for the Mature Client. She is a contributing author to Long-Term Care Facilities in Ontario: The Advocate's Manual published by ACE. Jane is a Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law Studies.

The Gillese Inquiry

Ms. Meadus will lead a panel discussion on the Gillese Inquiry. The Inquiry was established in 2017 by Order in Council following Elizabeth Wettlaufer's conviction of eight counts of first degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault, offences she had committed white working as a registered nurse in Long-Term Care Homes. The Inquiry's mandate was to inquire into the events which led to the offences committed by Elizabeth Wettlaufer.

Dr. Samir Sinha

Samir Sinha, MD, DPhil, is the Director of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai and the University Health Network Hospitals in Toronto and was recently appointed the Peter and Shelagh Godsoe Chair in Geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2012, he was appointed by the Government of Ontario to serve as the expert lead of Ontario's Seniors Strategy.

A Rhodes Scholar, after completing his undergraduate medical studies at the University of Western Ontario, he obtained a Master's degree in Medical History and a Doctorate in Sociology from the University of Oxford's Institute of Ageing. Internationally, Dr. Sinha is a Fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, and has consulted and advised hospitals and health authorities in Canada, the United States, Britain and China on the implementation and administration of unique, integrated, and innovative models of geriatric care that reduce disease burden, improve access and capacity, and ultimately promote health.

Canada's First National Dementia Strategy: What You Need to Know

As part of its commitment to improving the lives of Canadians with dementia, as well as their families and their caregivers, Canada is moving forward with a National Dementia Strategy. Dr. Sinha, who created much of Ontario's Dementia Strategy, and currently serves as a Member of the Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia, will share with participants the details behind the development of Canada's First National Dementia Strategy. The Strategy will consider the experiences of those living with dementia and will build on the innovative work already underway across the country.

Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulos

Vivian Stamatopoulos, PhD, is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (OntarioTech). Dr. Stamatopoulos holds a Master of Arts in Sociology and Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology from York University. Her research interests focus on child and youth-based caregiving (i.e., Young Carers), and she is currently collaborating on two SSHRC-funded studies exploring young carers' transitions to adulthood and the expansion of supports and resources for such young people living in rural communities.

Caring for Grandma/Grandpa: The Role Played by Young Carers/Caregivers in Supporting Aging Canadians

In this presentation, Dr. Stamatopoulos will provide an overview of the young carer movement in Canada (existing research, policy and support programming), while providing a statistical snapshot of Canadian youth's unpaid care and support in the context of aging.

Dr. Mina Tadrous

Drug Safety and De-Prescribing for Older Adults

Mina Tadrous, PhD, is a Research Associate with the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN), a cross-provincial research team based at St. Michael's Hospital focused on providing timely, high-quality, relevant research to decision makers. His research interests lie in drug policy research and the post-marketing surveillance of safety and effectiveness of medication used to treat chronic diseases.

Dr. Tadrous completed a PhD in pharmacoepidemiology at the University of Toronto, a Doctor of Pharmacy at Albany College of Pharmacy, and a Masters in Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Tennessee. He is a practicing pharmacist who has worked in a variety of clinical settings. He is also currently a fellow at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

THEME TEAM SESSIONS

AGE-FRIENDLY

Andrea Austen

Andrea Austen is the Manager of the Seniors Transition Office at the City of Toronto. She is the City's lead on vulnerable seniors and age-friendly initiatives, and is responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of the Toronto Seniors Strategy. Prior to entering the municipal public sector, she worked in the academic field as a Sessional Lecturer at York and Ryerson Universities. She received her Master's degree in Political Philosophy from York University.

Dr. Raza Mirza

Raza Mirza, PhD, received his MSc and PhD degrees from the Graduate Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto's Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. His areas of expertise and teaching interest include research methods, medical decision-making, the socio-behavioral determinants of health in persons aging with a chronic illness, and factors influencing late-life social, mental and physical well-being. Dr. Mirza is currently a Senior Research Associate at the University of Toronto's Institute for Life Course and Aging and the Network Manager for the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly.

More than Just a Home: The Toronto HomeShare Pilot Project

In this session, Ms. Austen and Dr. Mirza will discuss the City of Toronto's HomeShare Pilot Project, which sought to match 'overhoused' older adults (55+) with student home-seekers. During this session, they will examine the factors affecting the housing needs of the Canadian population and will share with participants the research evidence in support of intergenerational housing programs. As well, the lessons learned from this project, including how it can be improved in the future, will be explored. Participants will also have the opportunity to see and hear interviews conducted with both home-sharers and home-seekers of the HomeShare Pilot Project.

CAREGIVING

Communication Tools for Dementia Caregivers

Einat Danieli

Einat Danieli is a Project Manager at Baycrest Health Sciences and a Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant for Mount Sinai Hospital. She and her team developed the Dementia Talk App, which supports caregivers in tracking and responding to the changing behaviours and functions of persons with dementia.

​DEMENTIA

Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen

Sharon Kaasalainen, PhD, joined the School of Nursing in 2002 as an Assistant Professor. She completed a CHSRF Post Doctoral Fellowship at McMaster University and was an Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Career Scientist. Currently, Dr. Kaasalainen is an Associate member of the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University and Honorary Professor at Queens University Belfast. Dr. Kaasalainen’s research program is focused on improving the quality of life for people living in long term care homes with a particular focus on pain management and palliative care. She has received research funding from CIHR, SSHRC, and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care; both as a principal and co-investigator with the primary focus on improving quality of care for LTC residents & their family.

Implementing a Palliative Approach to Dementia Care

This presentation will address why a palliative approach to dementia care is needed and its potential to improve quality of living and dying in this vulnerable population. Barriers and facilitators to implementing a palliative approach for people living with dementia and their family/significant others will be discussed. Some evidence-based tools and programs that are consistent with a palliative approach, such as the Conversation Starter Kit and Namaste Care, will be shared along with emerging research evidence that supports them. Finally, recommendations for implementing a palliative approach to care, with a particular focus on long term care settings, will be presented.

ELDER ABUSE

Transformations in Safeguarding Against Elder Abuse: The Irish Experience

   Dr. Amanda Phelan

Amanda Phelan, PhD, is an Associate Professor at University College Dublin. She completed a BNS at Dublin City University, and an MSc Nursing (Education) and PhD at University College Dublin. Her research interests are elder abuse, particularly financial abuse of older people, public health, care of older people, and child protection and welfare. Dr. Phelan coordinates the only Irish academic programme focused on Person Centred Care of older people and the first global programme at graduate level on elder abuse. She is passionate about equality and social justice for older people and has acted as an Irish representative for Action on Elder Abuse; she is also the Irish representative for the International Network for the Protection of Older People.

END-OF-LIFE

Lauren Clark

Lauren Clark has been a Social Worker at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) for eight years. In this position, her primary roles are providing support to patients and their families/caregivers and facilitating discharge planning. In addition to this, she has been an active member of the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) team at TOH since its inception in 2016, acting as Lead Social Worker for this group. She holds a Social Service Worker diploma from Lambton College in her hometown of Sarnia, a certificate in Dementia Studies from Lakehead University, as well as Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees from Carleton University. She was recently named one of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) Inspirational Leaders for 2019.

Through her post-secondary education, she developed a strong interest in chronic illness, dementia care, and grief and bereavement. As such, she tailored much of her learning to these areas. Her current positions have allowed her to integrate this knowledge into practice seamlessly, both on the in-patient unit and through her participation in MAiD.

Engaging Patients and their Support Network in Navigating the MAiD Journey

The focus of this presentation is to highlight the role of Social Work in Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Social Workers play a key role, one that is multifaceted and ever evolving, in supporting and guiding individuals through their MAiD journey. At The Ottawa Hospital, an assessment tool has been developed as a guide to facilitating a discussion with patients and their supports about their psychosocial needs in advance of the MAiD procedure and can easily be adjusted as required to best meet the needs of those involved, including other health care providers. Through completion of the pre-MAiD assessment, Social Workers ensure that the MAiD journey honours the patient's wishes at end of life, addresses the psychosocial demands, and focuses on supporting the patient's loved ones through their grief. It is important to note that those who work with these patients and families, including Social Workers and other health care providers, identify their involvement in MAiD as positive and rewarding. All that to be said though, they are encouraged to seek out support and practice self-care, in addition to increasing their awareness of resiliency strategies as a means of coping with the challenges that arise as a result of their participation in this relatively new approach to end of life care.

ETHNICITY AND AGING

Settlement Issues Among Senior Newcomers

Dr. Nancy Mandell

Nancy Mandell, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University. She received her PhD in Sociology from Northeastern University and her Master's degree in Sociology from Carleton University. Her research interests include aging and immigration, family, intimacy and care work, gender and schooling, as well as qualitative methods.

FINANCIAL LITERACY

Sandra Sherk

Sandra Sherk holds an Honours Bachelor of Applied Science Degree with a Family Studies major. She has been working in the not-for-profit credit counseling sector since 1980. She started as a counsellor with the Credit Counselling Service of Durham Region in 1980 and became the Executive Counsellor in 1989. She joined Credit Canada Debt Solutions as a Counsellor in 2011. With Credit Canada, she has also worked on projects with Hydro One to prevent customers from having their service disconnected, and most recently, on a project with the Ontario government in facilitating workshops for Newcomers on Financial Literacy. She has written numerous blogs for Credit Canada's website on various topics, ranging from Preparing for the Unexpected and Ways People Foolishly Give Their Money Away.

Financial Tools for Seniors: Take Control of Your Money

In this session, Ms. Sherk will guide participants through creating a spending plan, what to do in times of financial trouble, financial goals, money saving tips, as well as how to improve credit rating scores.

MENTAL HEALTH

Marilyn White-Campbell

Marilyn White-Campbell is the Geriatric Addictions Specialist for Long-Term Care within the BSO program at Baycrest Health Centre. She was previously a Geriatric Addiction Consultant with the Community Responsive Behavioral Team and Specialized Geriatric Services for the COPA program in Toronto, one of Canada's first addictions treatment programs for older adults. She is recognized as a Canadian pioneer in the treatment of substance use issues in older adults.

The Invisible Epidemic: A Spotlight on the Opioid Crisis Among Older Adults

Seniors are a large part of the opioid crisis, or 'the invsible epidemic'. In this session, Ms. White-Campbell will examine the magnitude of this problem among older adults, the medical application of opioids, and how the use of opioids can become problematic, especially in later life. She will share innovative and evidence-based treatment approaches and harm reduction/prevention strategies, which must be tailored to the older adult population due to metabolic differences, drug interactions, and comorbidities that may be present as a part of the aging process.

PERFORMING ARTS

Dr. Amy Clements-Cortes

Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. She is also an Instructor and Supervisor at Wilfried Laurier University, an Academic Coordinator and Instructor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Ryerson Chang School, and a Music Therapist and Registered Psychotherapist. She has extensive clinical experience working with clients across the life span, with a specialty in older adults, dementia, and palliative care. She has authored multiple peer reviewed publications, including "Voices of the Dying and Bereaved", and she has given over 100 conference and/or invited academic presentations.

Dr. Clements-Cortes is Past-President of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT), and Managing Editor of the Music and Medicine journal. She is a past President of the Canadian Association for Music Therapists, and serves on the editorial review boards for 9 International journals.

Music Experiences and Music Therapy for Persons with Dementia

This presentation will focus on the use of music and music therapy in work with clients diagnosed with Dementia. Music therapy interventions and goals will be discussed with respect to persons living in nursing homes, attending adult day programs and/or in hospital. The Buddy’s Glee Club research projects will be described to illustrate the benefits of singing for health in older adults with cognitive impairment. Video and musical clips will be shared.

TECHNOLOGY AND AGING

Dementia Diagnostic Tools Using Artificial Intelligence

Fariya Mostafa

Fariya Mostafa is a Medical Product Manager at Winterlight Labs. She received both her Master's degree in Neurophysiology and Bachelor's degree in Biochemisty from the University of Toronto.

MORE SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON!