The RIA team is saddened to learn about the passing of our friend David Kent, Vice President, Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils. We had the pleasure of working closely with David on a number of initiatives and his drive and dedication to enhance quality of life for older adults will be remembered by many.
David was passionate about the power of intergenerational partnerships, and collaborated with the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) hosted at the RIA to shine a light on this topic. He participated in a think tank in 2018 exploring strategies to connect secondary school students with long-term care homes. He shared his own experience as a mentor to local students, and how seeing the difference he made in the students’ lives changed his outlook on aging. It encouraged him to advocate for the important contributions older adults can make in their communities. The learnings from this event were packaged into a toolkit that has been widely used to bridge the gap between youth and older adults.
“I was always inspired by David’s passion to create opportunities for younger and older people to connect, and helping young people to discover the warmth and potential inside long-term care and retirement homes,” says Emma Bender, a graduate student who worked closely with David during her time as a research assistant at the RIA. “Our work would not have been the same without his contribution and passion.”
David was also an important figure in Canada’s culture change movement, speaking about the need for change at many RIA events. Notably, he was a panellist in a plenary session highlighting the need for a revolution in aging at the 2018 Walk with Me national conference. While he didn’t shy away from sharing hard truths about agism in our society, he also focused on the positive. He inspired many by sharing his personal experiences living in long-term care and the difference the culture change movement made in his own life.
“I am deeply saddened to hear the news of David Kent’s passing,” says Josie d’Avernas, RIA executive director. “He shared his story and his talents to highlight what is possible, and showed us we can change the culture of aging in Canada. His contributions to the aging sector are many, and his work will live on in all who he inspired.”
David also supported the development of the Embracing Diversity toolkit released by the Ontario Ontario CLRI earlier this year. The resource supports long-term care homes in creating inclusive communities for everyone who lives, works or visits. David was a valued member of the project advisory committee, and hosted the team at the Village of Erin Meadows, where he lived for several years, to showcase their successes.
David was generous with his time and expertise, and always willing to help. Our team will remember him fondly and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from him.
Top: David Kent (seated in front, middle) pictured with Embracing Diversity advisory committee and project team members at the Village of Erin Meadows.
David Kent (seated in front) pictured with fellow panellists at the 2018 Walk with Me conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario.