Stay tuned for updates about Walk With Me in May 2024, location TBD.

Why we need culture change more than ever

Prior to 2020, many individuals, community groups and organizations were making great strides in changing the culture of aging and senior living across Canada.

2020 changed all that. While ageism existed long before, the COVID-19 pandemic showcased how deeply rooted ageist beliefs, practices, policies and systems are in our society. Older adults, and particularly those living in long-term care, have endured the brunt of the pandemic.

The medical model of care has regained ground in the name of safety. Isolation has and continues to have detrimental effects on those who live and work in senior living. Protecting our most vulnerable citizens from COVID-19 is essential, but the priority must be finding ways to do this while honouring and supporting individuals’ choices and need for connection. 

We all want to create and support communities where older adults can live life to the fullest. Many dedicated individuals and organizations across the country demonstrated incredible resilience and found creative ways to do this even during pandemic restrictions.

Walk with Me 2022 provided the forum we all need to reconnect, reimagine and recommit to changing the culture of aging in Canada. Now is the time to share innovative and creative solutions to help us move forward.

What is Walk with Me?

Walk with Me is a national conference aimed at changing the culture of aging in Canada.

Older adults/residents, care partners, educators, policy makers, students and researchers from all over the country come together to learn with and from each other about how to enhance the journey of aging across the continuum of care and community living.

The conference aims to:

  • Inspire continued commitment to the culture change movement in Canada.
  • Build capacity by showcasing innovations in culture change specific to aging and across diverse settings (e.g., long-term care, community, retirement living) from across Canada.
  • Build partnerships and networks to support culture change in aging and long-term care in Canada.
  • Build momentum for a new era of culture change in the post-COVID world.
  • Celebrate the resilience, creativity and sense of community that has emerged in the senior living sector and within families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walk with Me is co-hosted by the RIA and Capital Care, and partners across the country support conference planning.

What is culture change?

An older woman and man watching a keynote presentation at a Walk with Me conference

Culture change is an ongoing, holistic journey that includes re-examining values, beliefs, attitudes, language, practices and policies and working to implement the full range of efforts needed to transform the culture into a community where everyone thrives.

In Canada, we envision a culture of aging where:

  • the personhood of each individual is honoured;
  • each person is the primary authority of his or her life and personal choices are respected and supported;
  • the focus is on living life to the fullest;
  • accessible and enabling environments support continued engagement and connections in community;
  • the body, mind and spirit of each person are nourished;
  • close relationships and authentic partnerships involving collaborative decision-making are at the core of compassionate communities; and
  • all care partners have the knowledge and information, skills, resources, authority and accountability to provide respectful, flexible and life-affirming care and support.

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