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Best Practice Strategies: ‘Smart Aging’ Education for Older Adults and Caregiving Teams

Many older adults make significant life decisions in crisis moments — but many don’t realize that doing this could harm their well-being. That’s because making rash decisions typically involves a lack of resources, information, and tools needed to make the best choices.

In today’s episode, we’re shining some light on the subject of ‘Smart Aging’ education for older adults and caregiving teams. Get ready to delve into the impactful initiatives of the Council on Aging of Ottawa, where we’ll spotlight their extensive focus, research endeavors, and collaborative efforts.  Most importantly, discover how this information can help Aging Services professionals and their teams provide resources to support older adults.

Tune in to discover key insights, valuable tools, and helpful resources.

​​Click to listen to this episode:

About Our Guests:

Sarah Bercier, BA, MA  - Executive Director, The Council on Aging of Ottawa

With a wealth of experience spanning over 30 years in aging and later life, Sarah has been the Executive Director of The Council on Aging of Ottawa since 2014. Beyond her notable career addressing elder abuse, overseeing seniors' community housing initiatives, and managing roles with the Canadian Association on Gerontology, Sarah has transitioned into a consultant role in the last two decades. Holding a BA in Psychology and an MA in Clinical Counseling, both with a focus on later life issues, she seamlessly integrates academic knowledge with practical expertise. Sarah's dedication to aging issues is not just professional but also personal, as she actively engages with communities, speaks, and writes about retirement and aging nuances. In her role as Executive Director, she leverages her extensive experience to identify opportunities for enhancing the lives of seniors in Ottawa, contributing to the city's evolution into a more age-friendly community where seniors thrive.

Trudy Medcalf, PhD - Educator, Gerontologist, Writer, Researcher - Smart Aging, Co-Developer and Facilitator - Council on Aging of Ottawa

Trudy is a versatile individual, serving as an Educator, Gerontologist, Writer, and Researcher. In addition to these roles, she acts as the Facilitator of The Council on Aging of Ottawa and is the Co-Developer of 'Smart Aging.' Passionate about the intersection of aging and technology, Trudy led projects at the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research, focusing on the creation and benefits of online elder circles. Notably, she co-founded "Aging by the Book," a reading circle program in Ottawa, and spent 12 years teaching gerontology at Laurentian University, integrating innovative approaches like an intergenerational session in her "Literary Gerontology" course. Invited in 2019 to contribute to the development of "Smart Aging," Trudy authored four modules, actively shaping and piloting the program based on her beliefs about effective learning for older adults. Currently working on a book that blends memoirs, research, and personal reflections on aging, Trudy's commitment to improving the lives of older adults through education and community engagement remains a driving force in her multifaceted career.

Linda Meek, Business Development & Relations Manager - ComForCare Home Care - Ottawa-Champlain

Linda draws inspiration from her upbringing in a small Scottish village, where her grandmother instilled the value of caring for seniors. With a background in Gerontology, Linda has dedicated over 20 years to senior-centric organizations, serving as the Executive Director in various retirement homes across the Ottawa area for 17 years. Actively engaged in the community, she has held roles as a Board Member and Educator for the Ontario Retirement Communities Association, a Board Member for the Council on Aging, and a participant in various committees. Currently contributing to the Algonquin College advisory committee, Linda's mission is to ensure that older adults and their families receive the care they deserve, irrespective of their chosen home setting. Her commitment extends to supporting and educating seniors to navigate the intricacies of the healthcare system, reflecting a lifelong passion for positively impacting the lives of seniors in Ottawa-Champlain.

Show Notes:

  • The Council on Aging of Ottawa overview.
  • Smart Aging Program highlights:
  • Program overview and research findings supporting program development.
  • Key benefits of the program. 
  • Best practice case example: How ComForCare Home Care has implemented older adult and professional caregiver education, such as the Smart Aging Program, that positively impacts aging in place at home.
  • Best practice strategies considerations for Aging Services professionals when implementing education initiatives for older adults and caregiving teams. 
  • Helpful resources for Aging Services professionals. 

Episode Resources:

Listen to more ComForConnections episodes here >>

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