Conference Agenda - 2018 Grey Matters Conference

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Monday, September 24
11:00 AM Pre-Registration

1:00 PM -

4:00 PM

Pre-conference Session



Raynell McDonough, BA, BSW, MSW, RSW - Issue Strategist with Calgary Neighbourhoods at The City of Calgary
Kim Savard, BA - Program Manager of The Way In at Carya
Lee Tunstall, BA, MA, PhD - Consultant

Older adults with mental health issues can face challenges in finding the housing and community supports they need in order to survive and thrive. The Older Adult Council of Calgary will present highlights and recommendations from their ongoing work on the housing and support needs of older adults with mental health issues, including a recently released series of position papers.

Through facilitated exercises, participants will explore the challenges and opportunities of providing seamless, integrated housing and support services for older adults with mental health issues, and explore ways of increasing knowledge and collaboration between the mental health, housing, homeless, and older adult sectors.

This session is open to all participants, and is particularly intended for people throughout Alberta who have experience or an interest in the areas of mental health, addictions, housing, homelessness, and community supports.

4:00 PM Transportation to Evening Event
5:00 PM - 7:00   PM

Evening to Celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival at Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association (CCECA)

Join the 2018 Grey Matters Planning Committee for an evening to mix and mingle with delegates, as a warm up to the convention. At the Mid Autumn Festival you will learn the Chinese traditional story and have an opportunity to build your own lantern, learn some calligraphy skills, and enjoy additional entertainment and light snacks.

7:00 PM Shuttles Return to Hotel

Tuesday, september 25                                                                               
7:00 AM Registration and Stampede Breakfast
8:30 AM Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:15 AM

Keynote Address – John Morris | Earle Morris

Olympic Gold Medalist

“Johnny Mo” is a two-time World Curling Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. John recently returned from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea where he and his partner Kaitlyn Lawes made history by becoming the first ever Mixed Doubles Champions in the Sport of Curling. He also won Gold at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 with the men’s curling team.

In addition to his curling career, John has a passion for serving his community as a Firefighter at the RockyView Fire Department. John is also an active member of the Big Hearted Mavericks - a group of 25 dedicated businessmen out of the Calgary area who run various charity events throughout the city. The group has raised over 4 million dollars for Children’s Charities since their inception. He is a certified holistic nutritionist and gourmet chef.

Accompanying John will be his father, Earle Morris, a legend in the curling world and a member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame. After a lengthy playing career, Earle moved into coaching and has been at it for over 20 years. He has won 6 Canadian Championships. At the World level he has won 1 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals. Earle decided to retire from full-time coaching after the 2016 season and began offering his services to train high performance (HP) coaches. Earle’s coaching seminars focus on areas of training that can truly make a difference in team success.

10:25 AM Nutrition Break & Exhibits
10:50 AM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

An Information Sharing Approach to Working Collaboratively

George Alvarez - Executive Director, Knowledge and Information Management, Community and Social Services

Albertans’ lives have become increasingly complex, and evidence suggests that no single agency is able to meet the needs of these complex citizens. The Government of Alberta’s strategic direction has been steadily moving towards greater collaboration between its departments and service delivery partners in order to provide wraparound supports to individuals.

Information is at the heart of program planning, service delivery and policy, and sharing information is a core element of any collaborative initiative. The Information Sharing Strategy aims to establish a robust environment in which personal and health information is shared appropriately between government departments and service provider partners to support collaborative and integrated service delivery.

In this session you will learn about the resources available and how to use them to position your organization and your staff as collaborative partners when working with other organizations towards coordinated case management outcomes in support of the Albertans you serve.


Engaging Seniors in Rural Communities

Cindy Lauwen - Volunteer Coordinator
Barons-Eureka-Warner Family & Community Support Services

Seniors are vital in our communities. It is important to have programs and services that help keep them active, reduce isolation and age well. This can be a challenge in small, rural communities. Join us as we share creative programs and services offered to support seniors as they embrace the years ahead. Learn about establishing partnerships to enhance and enrich programs for seniors.


Chinese Community Helper Program: A Peer Support Program for Seniors

Liza Chan, BA, RSW, Executive Director
Celia Li, MSW, RSW, Operations Manager
Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association

Close to 25% of Chinese elderly immigrants report at least mild level of depressive symptoms which is much higher than the reported 10% and 15% in the general elderly Canadian population. The Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association (CCECA) launched the Chinese Community Helper Program in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), which is the first step to build informal mental health support for the Chinese older adults. CMHA tailored training materials and provided ongoing support in the delivery of the program. Our trained community helpers will provide one-to-one peer support service to isolated seniors for 10 weeks. The monthly meeting provides opportunity to make new friends and become engaged with our association and the wider community, therefore decreasing their isolation and feelings of exclusion from society.

In this workshop, we will share the train the trainer model and provide practical tools to address the needs of seniors who are experiencing social isolation.


Elder Abuse Response Team: A Collaborative Approach to

Promoting Safer Communities for Older Adults

Susan Westenberger - Sargent, Calgary Police Service
Jenna Powell, MSW, RSW - Social Worker - carya
Luanne Whitmarsh
 - President, Alberta Association of Seniors Centres

The Elder Abuse Response Team is a collaborative partnership in the city of Calgary between Kerby Centre, carya and the Calgary Police Service. This expanded partnership model allows for services to be provided to seniors and professionals in the areas of intervention, education and prevention. A 24 hour phone line – the Elder Abuse Resource Line and shelter options for senior victims of criminal investigations of elder abuse is operated by the Kerby Centre. A joint social work/police team has specialized knowledge and experience in the areas of elder abuse such as mental and cognitive health/capacity, Power of Attorney (POA)/Personal Directive (PD), working with the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT), Protections for Persons in Care (PPIC) and other agencies, the vulnerabilities of adults being cared for by family or in care and complex criminal investigations involving older adults. Additional prevention services including: direct client work with older adults facing low to medium risk cases of non-criminal forms of elder abuse and a consultation line that aims to build capacity and support the needs of service providers in the community, and relevant professional education is supported by carya.

All three of these components work together to connect seniors to specialized resources that meet their individual needs. This presentation will use case studies to demonstrate the multifaceted approach used by EART to protecting and advocating for seniors and their rights/needs. As follow up to this conference presentation the team would be available for consultation on files involving elder abuse.

12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Board Development

Justin Solamillo, BSW, MSW - Community Development Officer, Alberta Culture and Tourism

Non-Profit boards function effectively when everyone on the board knows what their responsibilities are and what is expected of them. There will be focus on Board and Executive Director relationships, clarity of roles and job descriptions. Join us for an interactive session where we identify ways to make board members’ lives easier and more productive!


What is a Dementia Friendly Community and What Does This Mean for You?

Emma Richardson, BA - Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator, Calgary Westhills, The Brenda Stafford Foundation

The presentation will begin with a brief background to the Dementia Friendly Community pilot project currently taking place.

It will define what a Dementia Friendly Community is, how it aligns with Age Friendly Communities, who it is funded by, why it is needed and its goals.

Progress to date will include:

  • Dementia awareness training that has been developed (which includes risk reduction), given to a variety of businesses and organizations including drug stores, banks, faith centres, schools, local agencies and the Calgary Fire Dept
  • Intergenerational work
  • Memory Cafes which give a social outlet to all including those impacted by dementia
  • Mobilization of the community through numerous volunteer positions available, recruitment and management of volunteers to work with clients living with dementia in the pilot area

Next steps will also be covered to include priorities for this year, toolkit being developed for other communities in Alberta to develop their own Dementia Friendly Communities.


Let’s Talk Ageism! A Collaborative, Community Approach to Change

Donna Durand - Executive Director, Alberta Council on Aging
Iman Bukkhari, MA - CEO, Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation

There are negative and positive stereotypes about older people: weak, frail, disabled, senile to all old people are wise and caring. According to Dr. Robert Butler, who coined the term, ageism involves myths and stereotypes and blatant disdain. Language carries out these ideas and social behaviours. Let’s Talk Ageism uses discussion, visuals, and exercises to bring awareness to ageism and how it leads to harm. It also brings participants to a place where they can explore their own perceptions and attitudes about aging and older people. Let’s Talk Ageism aims at focusing the following objectives in an exploratory and solution oriented manner.


Delivering More Than a Meal

Christine Hentschel - Client Services Manager, Calgary Meals on Wheels

Nutrition is often one of the first sacrifices when faced with financial, medical, or social barriers. With the aging population often encountering challenges in at least one of those areas, how can we support the nutritional health of seniors?

Research continues to support the potential of home-delivered meal programs to contribute to the health and independence of older adults living in the community. This presentation will discuss the barriers to accessing proper nutrition and explore the benefits of home-delivered meals. Additionally, we will share examples of secondary benefits and potential partnerships that build even greater impact beyond nutrition alone.

2:10 AM Nutrition Break & Exhibits
2:30 PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Leadership Forged by The Four Horsemen -

Lessons for Leaders from Fires, Floods, Pestilence and War

Steven Armstrong, MSc - Leadership Expert, Speaker and Author of You Can't Lead From Behind

The lessons from the Southern Alberta Floods, Slave Lake & Fort McMurray Wildfires, SARS and Combat include:

  • Great Leaders See the Big Picture
  • Go Big Early
  • There are Limits to What People Can Absorb
  • Disasters are Complex, and
  • Data Lie

Personal, Organizational & Community Leadership is intentional influence and often doing what doesn’t come to us naturally. We must work at it, but the good news is that we can all get there by taking to heart that:

  • Leaders Are Made, Not Born
  • Leaders Manage Their Emotions
  • Leaders Respond Rather Than React
  • Leaders Are Resilient

Leaders can come from anywhere. As we look around the world today, if we are looking for larger-than-life heroes, we misunderstand what leadership is.

In a crisis leaders appear to be larger than life, you will see that you and I…ordinary people…will rise to the occasion in turbulent and trying circumstances.


What Family Caregivers Say: Surprising and

Not So Surprising Results from New Research

Allegra Samaha, MSW (c), RSW - Research Lead, Alberta Health Services Inpatient Social Worker, South Health Campus
Briana Nickel, BSc - Research Team Member

In 2017 the Kerby Centre facilitated research into family caregivers in the City of Calgary. Presenters will discuss the findings which highlighted the perceptions of individuals who were looking after seniors. Often these caregivers are seniors themselves.


When a Community Speaks…A Shared Journey to

Wellness for Staff and Residents

Sarah Price, B.A.Sc, Director of Service
Krista Tweed, MA, Manager of Learning & Development
Barbara Hagen, MA, RSW, Regional Manager
Silvera for Seniors

Communities speak in many ways: through formal and informal feedback, through productivity, through retention of people, through workplace culture. How do we listen and who are we listening to? From the still, small voices on an anonymous comment card to large percentages on a staff survey, each voice is trying to guide us to an improved future state. Infusing a culture of service and innovation throughout the organization involves consciously marrying evidence-based practices with the lived experience of residents and staff in daily living. The result is a re-imagining of the vital role a community plays in supporting wellbeing and quality of life for those who live and work there.

Join us to explore the tools which allow you to listen, to learn about possibilities with implementation of new approaches and to consider how you can lead your organization with innovative strategies for healthy and active living.


Hearing Matters for an Aging Population: Research Findings and Evidence-based Recommendations for Communication and Hearing Loss

Sharron Nixon; Alan Jones - Hearing Services Coordinators, Deaf & Hear Alberta
Dr. Carrie Scarff, R. Aud, Ph.D, Registered Clinical Audiologist, Director of Audiology, Audiology Innovations, Board Member, Deaf and Hear Alberta

Hearing Loss 101Untreated hearing loss is a major health concern for our aging Canadian population. Recent Canadian statistics (Stats Can, 2015) found that 47% of Canadians ages 60 and older suffer from at least a mild hearing loss in one ear. Due to its gradual nature, nearly 70% of individuals in Canada who have hearing loss are unaware of it (Canadian Health Measures Survey, 2012/13). Given that 2016 statistics showed the 65+ group is larger than the under 14 group for the first time in Canadian history, an understanding of hearing health by senior care-workers is vital to accurately support growing senior populations in our communities. This presentation will cover the science behind hearing loss, the most common signs and symptoms of hearing loss, as well as research findings regarding the relationship between untreated hearing loss and Dementia (Lancet, 2017), Diabetes, risk of falls, cardiovascular disease and depression. Evidence based treatments for hearing loss including the latest advancements in hearing aid technology will be discussed.

Living With Hearing Loss (Communication Strategies & Other Practical Supports):  The longer hearing loss is undiagnosed, the more detrimental are the effects on the aging person’s quality of life. Hearing loss is comparable to any other significant loss in life. For some, the social effects of hearing loss can cause them to withdraw from family, friends and activities they once enjoyed. Not being able to hear leads to frustration, depression and physical exhaustion. Learn about practical, easy to use communication and other strategies to support those living with hearing loss and those who care for and about them

3:40 PM Session Break
3:50 PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Strategic Planning for Seniors Centres

Justin Solamillo, BSW, MSW - Community Development Officer, Alberta Culture and Tourism

Strategic planning is crucial for a non-profit organization’s success and it does not need to be a boring, painstaking task! This interactive workshop provides and introduction to strategic planning for today’s non-profit leaders. After providing an overview of strategic planning and its benefits, this workshop will introduce a simple step-by-step planning method, practical tools and engaging process to empower your organization to successfully prepare a productive, results-driven strategic plan.


Connecting with Others Never Grows Old - The Value of Multimedia Marketing in Addressing Social Isolation and Building Inclusive Age Friendly Communities

Haidong Liang, PhD, Project & Facility Manager
Westend Seniors Activity Centre

This presentation aims to share with practitioners and colleagues about how an ongoing 3-year multimedia campaign is effective in increasing awareness of the role senior centres can play in reducing social isolation and building Inclusive Age Friendly Communities.

According to a report by the National Seniors Council (2014), an awareness campaign is a powerful tool to dispel myths associated with aging and social isolation and inform seniors of the services/programs available in the community. It was suggested that the media plays a key role in influencing the public’s perception of different generations and can be used to bring positive attention to socially isolated seniors. Therefore, it is important for senior centres to budget for multimedia marketing campaigns in order to reach a larger audience. WSAC will share our journey to date focusing on funding, planning and implementing such campaigns, and sharing pre and post data that show the value of multimedia campaigns.


No Longer Silent: LGBT Older Adults

Diana Wark, RSW - Training Centre Facilitator, Calgary Sexual Health Centre

In this workshop, participants explore the reality of heterosexism in our society and its impact on LGBT individuals as they age. Myths, language and definitions are clarified and strategies to create safe and supportive environments for LGBT older adults are practiced. Participants will leave with practical strategies for creating a safer, more inclusive and respectful environment. They will also learn about additional community resources and referrals.


How can our Continuing Care System Help Albertans Age Well

Christine Walsh, MSc, MSW, PhD, RSW, Professor and Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary; Mare Donly, MSW, RSW, BSs, Volunteer with GSWAG and with Early Onset Dementia Support Group; Linda McFarlane, BSc, BSW, MSW, Volunteer with GSWAG and Patient/family advisor, Alberta Health Serving Continuing Care Committee

The research team for the project, Issues and Possibilities in Continuing Care in Alberta, 2017,” heard from 82 Albertans including, family caregivers, social workers, nurses, facility managers, older adults, and members of the LGBTQ and South Asian communities. They shared their thoughts and experiences with home care, supportive living and long-term care and their vision for a system that better supports those in care to ‘age well’. They also told us who must be involved to reach this vision.

We will begin by briefly reviewing the research project and what we heard from participants.

Next, we will initiate smaller group discussion with the purpose of sharing perspectives as well as ideas for changes to ensure that our Alberta Continuing Care system supports aging well.

Finally, we will regroup and discuss concrete actions that we as individuals, organizations or communities take that that will help us build a system that will better serve those who receive continuing care, their families, care partners and our communities.

5:00 PM Closing Remarks
5:15 PM Transportation to Evening Event

6:00 PM -

8:00 PM

Networking Reception at the Kerby Centre

Join us for a fun and relaxing evening in “Margaritaville”, complete with a live tribute band! A variety of food options included. Cash bar will be open.

Wednesday, September 26
7:00 AM Breakfast
7:15 AM AGM - Alberta Association of Seniors Centres (AASC)
8:30 AM Welcome and Opening Remarks
8:45 AM

Opening Plenary – Dr. David Posen

Physician | Bestselling Author

Dr. David Posen was a family physician for 17 years before devoting his time exclusively to stress management, lifestyle counselling and psychotherapy in 1985.

Stress is a fact of life - but it doesn’t have to be a way of life. Bestselling author, speaker and physician, Dr. David Posen, is one of North America’s leading experts on stress mastery, work-life balance, health, and wellness. His dynamic presentations have empowered thousands of people to take control of their lives…and come out on top. Combining humour and practical analogies, Dr. Posen helps unlock the mysteries of stress and wellness.

Dr. Posen is the author of five bestselling books, Always Change a Losing Game; Staying Afloat When Water Gets Rough; The Little Book of Stress Relief; Is Work Killing You?; and his most recent title, Authenticity.

10:00 AM Nutrition Break & Exhibits
10:20 AM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Enhancing the Mobility of Seniors through Regional Collaborative

Models of Alternate Transportation for Seniors and

Launching a Community of Practice (CoP) Resource

Dr. Bonnie Dobbs - Professor in Department of Family Medicine and Director, Medically At-Risk Driver Centre (MARD) at University of Alberta
Kathleen Waxer - Director of the Community & Family Services, Municipality of Jasper
Wendy Robinson - Family and Community Support Services Supervisor, Yellowhead County
Susan Berry - Community Seniors Manager, Sturgeon County
Emily Hussey, BSc - Research Coordinator, Medically At-Risk Driver Centre (MARD) at University of Alberta

Transportation is essential to maintaining the health, independence, and social inclusion of seniors. Yet, a significant number of seniors in rural and urban Alberta have unmet transportation needs due to a lack of responsive forms of transportation in their community. Over the next several decades, the demand for collaborative models of alternate transportation for seniors (ATS) services in rural areas will increase significantly due to the aging of the population, the steadily increasing number of seniors who are transportation disadvantaged due to health and/or mobility challenges, and the regionalization of many services.

In this session, attendees will learn about the collaborative efforts between MARD and the two community partners (Sturgeon Region and West Yellowhead Region) on developing and implementing rural regional models of ATS services. This presentation will conclude with the official launch and demonstration of a MARD/ESCC Community of Practice (CoP) website for Transportation Service Providers and Stakeholders.


Truth and Reconciliation, the Response from City of Calgary

Lorelei Higgins, BA, MBA - Indigenous Relations Strategist, The City of Calgary

The City of Calgary has put dynamic resources in place to actualize the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada: Calls to Action report. This session will highlight the processes to date and the desired outcomes. Commitment to long term education, facilitated discussions and developing partnerships with Indigenous groups will be discussed.


Addressing Elder Abuse in Alberta

Lori Therrien, RSW - Elder Abuse Prevention Coordinator, Alberta Seniors and Housing

The session will highlight current Alberta and Canadian prevalence and perception data on elder abuse. Participants will learn how they can play a role in coordinated community response by getting involved or developing a local model. Government will share past and present activities of government as it relates to the path forward in addressing elder abuse. Participants will take away key resources and information that they will be able to incorporate in their activities in addressing elder abuse at the local level.


Balance Your Health: Wellness Made Easy

Melanie Fuller, BPE, CSEP, CEP, ACSM, CCEP - Manager, Wellness Programs, Alberta Blue Cross

Balance is a comprehensive online wellness program that is available for all Alberta seniors 65+. Built using scientific behavioural theories, the platform recognizes that change happens over time. With little nudges like the chance to win prizes, users will be motivated to improve their health. As they begin to make changes, they develop both the confidence and conviction to take their health to the next level. Presentation will include the following:

  • The benefits and enrichment of Balance to seniors' lives
  • Live Demo on how seniors and other Alberta Blue Cross members can access Balance
  • Resources and tools to promote Balance to seniors
  • Interactive discussion with audience
11:30 AM Lunch
12:30 PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Healthy Aging Framework - Report Back to Senior Centres

Luanne Whitmarsh - President, Alberta Association of Seniors Centres
Karen McDonald, MBA - Executive Director, Sage Seniors Association

The purpose of the Framework was to explore the practices, possibilities and the challenges of positioning Alberta senior centres as essential, community-based organizations that contribute to the overall quality of life of older adults.


Insights on Alberta Seniors: What Statistics Canada Data Can Tell Us

Stephanie Quigg, MA - Program Policy and Data Analyst, Alberta Seniors and Housing

Seniors are the fastest growing population in Alberta. Gaining accurate and reliable statistical data on Alberta seniors helps communities, organizations and government to target their programs and adapt policy work to the needs of diverse Alberta seniors. Alberta seniors are a unique population and exhibit unique characteristics among age cohorts and populations. This presentation seeks to expand knowledge about Alberta seniors, providing insight on the changing demographics and the diverse populations of seniors, and highlighting the differences between Alberta seniors and Canadian seniors on a variety of topics, including: the labour force; income; housing and living arrangements; transportation; and health and wellbeing.


Art Therapy and the Expressive Arts in Older Adults Groups

Marilyn Magnuson, MSW, RSW, RCAT - Express Yourself Child & Family Art Therapy

Healthcare workers recognize the value of incorporating creative and expressive arts in senior care such as groupwork. Such practices impact physical, emotional and spiritual well-being for older adults. Research demonstrates that the use of arts improves immune system functioning, helps in the reduction of stress and anxiety, and lowers blood pressure. Art Therapy stimulates the production of neural dendrites in the brain, increasing communication connections and activating enzymes that contribute to memory and thinking. Seniors in art therapy groups witness participant creativity and become inspired, connected and supportive.

This lecture provides the fundamentals of art therapy in group therapy and its effects on well-being. Participants learn how to assist group members to create art as well as the processing of images in a safe, ethical, effective and respectful manner.

1:45 PM Nutrition Break & Exhibits
2:00 PM

End Note:

Men’s Sheds: Men Building Community & Supports, Shoulder to Shoulder

Amanda Harriman-Gojtan - Life Enrichment Coordinator, Sage Seniors Association
Punch Jackson, retired

Men’s Sheds are welcoming, supportive places that provide opportunities for men to take part in activities, socialize, share skills, and learn something new.

The core vision of Men’s Sheds is equality and inclusion for all Shedders – regardless of age, cultural background, ability, sexual orientation, income, or employment status.

The name “Mens Sheds” originated in Australia, and comes from the idea that a backyard shed is a space where men often go to work on projects.

There are over 2000 Men’s Sheds around the world and the concept is catching on in Canada. Edmonton currently is home to three Men’s Sheds, including Canada’s first Indigenous Men’s Shed.

Presenters will cover the history of the Men’s Shed movement, the positive effects that Men’s Sheds have on men’s health and wellbeing, share Edmonton’s Men’s Sheds experiences, as well as offer helpful tips for starting Men’s Sheds in other communities.

3:15 PM Closing Remarks and Door Prizes