“B/OLD: Aging in our city-Vieillir dans notre ville”

 

By Bipasha Sultana

Thinking about age-friendly cities across communities

Put forth by Concordia’s ACT (Ageing, Communication, Technology) and engAGE, the Centre for Research on Aging, B/OLD is a trilingual (English, French, LSQ) event series that is open to the public, offering a multitude of thought-provoking events. These include panels and keynotes, creative workshops and activities, as well as art exhibitions and kiosks, some of which will be held in Concordia’s newly launched 4th Space.

One of the primary aims of this event lies in forging intersectoral connections between academic researchers, community groups, policy makers and local citizens. This is reflected in panels featuring an eclectic list of speakers, including a discussion between community leaders and city politicians, titled “What is an age friendly city?”

Kim Sawchuk, director of ACT and professor in the Department of Communication Studies, points out: “Our goal is to bring community groups, decisions makers, researchers, activists and citizens into conversation with one another. We hope that B/OLD is the start of a conversation.”

B/OLD also aims to bridge the age-segregation that has falsely come to define certain spaces, particularly campus spaces often occupied by – but by no means restricted to – young adult students.

Provoking conversations through fun activities

In an effort to disrupt the age-specific homogeneity of campus spaces, creative workshops and activities offered during B/OLD are tailored to all age groups, with a keen focus on issues unique to the older adult population. For instance, a Graffiti Workshop invites participants to engage in an intergenerational artistic collaboration to address the question of “who is allowed to leave their mark on the city?”

Visitors can also look forward to a much-anticipated “Escape Room on Elder Abuse”. Escape rooms are live-action, collaborative games that ask players to search for clues in order to solve physical and mental puzzles as they move through a room. Solving the puzzles leads players to exit the room and win the game. B/OLD’s escape room was designed to offer an accessible and engaging way for players to identify clues of abuse commonly experienced by vulnerable older adults, with the end goal of recognizing and symbolically “escaping” the game’s cycle of abuse.

Exploring a sensitive topic like elder abuse through an Escape Room helps participants engage in active, hands-on learning to recognize the subtleties of elder abuse.

According to Shannon Hebblewaite, director of engAGE and associate professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences, “B/OLD is a collaborative effort to its core. We are pleased to create opportunities to exchange knowledge and learn from one another. By bringing together older adults, researchers, and policy makers to share their perspectives on aging in the city, we expect some lively conversations that will help ground research and practice in a better understanding of older people themselves.”

B/OLD: Aging in our city, is open to the public and will be taking place on May 16th and 17th throughout the SGW campus and in the 4th Space. You can find out more about the event’s programming on the B/OLD website.

Shirley Curry Slays (Dragons)

From behind two monitors, a custom-built computer and a high-quality keyboard and mouse, Shirley Curry says, “give me that soul of the dragon.” She has just fired an iron arrow into its hide. After weeks of preparing for this battle, the 82-year-old gamer is content with her victory.

Expanding our understanding of activism(s) by sharing stories of older activists

In their recently released book, Unsettling Activisms: Critical Interventions on Aging, Gender, and Social Change (Women’s Press, 2018), editors May Chazan, Melissa Baldwin, and Patricia Evans present compelling reasons why our common perceptions of activisms and activists need to be expanded; specifically, expanded to include the work of older women activists.

Creating spaces for dialogue and critical exploration at GUSEGG 2018

Each year in July, GUSEGG provides a unique opportunity for professors and students from around the world to explore new ideas and dive into challenging topics. It is intensive, personal, intimate, and distinct from a typical university setting. Students and professors learn together from early morning until late evening in a setting where critical thought and challenging conversations extend beyond the walls of the classroom.

CRTC opens inquiry into misleading or aggressive practices of telecommunication services providers

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has recently opened an official inquiry into the “use of misleading or aggressive telecommunications services providers.” And, as of August 2018, we are actively encouraging Canadians – especially older adults – to participate in this important consultation process.

Coding old age in social imaginaries

This month’s In Focus article comes to us from Dr. Sakari Taipale at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. Taipale is a research group leader for the Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care (CoEAgeCare), which studies the transformations in ageing in a digital age through analyses of everyday life and societal and policy change. In his paper, Taipale considers the ways in which digitalization of everyday life has shifted the ways we think about age and ageing.

RECAA’s activism and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

une 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). It was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations in 2006, and serves as a day for the world to voice its opposition to the mistreatment of seniors. In Montreal, ACT’s community partner Respecting Elders: Communities Against Abuse (RECAA) uses the day to inclusively raise awareness of elder mistreatment and elder abuse, by way of theatre practices, creative interventions and hand-to-hand leafleting in the streets.

Portraits of Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Reimagining discourses on ageing.

If you google Alzheimer’s and dementia, you will find articles on “the ticking time bomb” of dementia and the socio-economic costs of Alzheimer’s. You’ll encounter videos of scientists speaking authoritatively on our inevitable cognitive decline and perhaps, most alarmingly, you’ll read messages explaining that we reach our intellectual peak at 25 years of age and it’s all just a sad descent from there.