From the Archives – Older Adults in our Community

The Oakville Community Foundation has 27 years of published content from blogs, articles, research, reports and more! Join us as we periodically look back at The Foundation’s history of work on various topics and issues in the community in our new series, From the Archives.

Through the Years

Did you know that the Vital Older Adults Report is just the latest in The Foundation’s long list of content that explores the health, well being and belonging of older adults in our community? Throughout the years, The Foundation has published research and articles in both our Annual Reports and Vital Research Reports that focus on older adults.

The 2014 Impact Report included an article called 20/20 vision – a focus on caregivers, that explored the vital importance of caregivers in our community and some of the charitable organizations that offered caregiving support and services, including Acclaim Health.

“We can all relate to having no time and an overwhelming feeling of not being able to keep up. Caregivers that endure the day-to-day challenges of caring for loved ones suffering from mental health issues know this feeling all too well and sometimes, these unsung heroes are just as vulnerable as those they care for. 

Even when given a reprieve from their responsibilities as caregivers, they have their own errands to run, bills to pay, and work to catch up on. For the caregiver, time is a gift.”

The Foundation’s 2015 Vital Signs – A Community of Contrasts identified major issues affecting the quality of life of Oakville community members and recognized elder abuse as an emerging issue:

“Elder abuse occurs across cultures, genders, income levels and abilities. Victims are often socially isolated with few friends or family in whom to confide. Immigrants may face additional barriers of language, limited knowledge of local laws, cultural stigma and increased dependence on the abuser.

Education and information sharing, especially within immigrant communities, may help reduce the risk of isolation and abuse. Informal focus groups of older South Asian adults from Mississauga and Oakville identified social isolation and elder abuse as issues within their community.”

Where are we now?

In June 2021, The Foundation released Living Your Best Life: A Report on the Vitality of Older Adults in Our Communities which builds on much of the information shared in previous research and reports. The report explores everything from income, food security, health, well-being and relationships and how these aspects impact the lives of older adults. 

“How do you define “old,” “senior” or “elderly”? There is no one age that automatically sets people into this category and no one-size-fits-all definition. For some of us, we may base this on how our minds and bodies feel. For others, we might look to when we start to receive age-related discounts. 

In some cultures, the goal in ageing is to become a revered member of the community, but what can we consider the goals in our community? For many, this means living independently, continuing to drive, looking after themselves both mentally and physically and having the time and ability to socially connect with friends, family and the community.

Not all older adults in our communities are thriving, and this report highlights areas where we can focus efforts to support ageing in our communities, throughout the pandemic and for years to come.”

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