Posted: September 30, 2016

Advice on healthy aging was a popular topic as Grand River Hospital hosted its annual community meeting.

Nearly 180 people took part in the September 29th public event at Waterloo’s Luther Village.

Waterloo Region’s population of adults 65 years of age and older is expected to grow from 69,000 people as of 2013 to 103,000 by 2023.

An aging population will require greater health services. For example:

  • People over the age of 65 account for a quarter of emergency department visits;
  • More than half of acute hospital days are to support the health needs of older adults; and
  • When patients have to stay in hospital waiting for care in the community, this involves older adults more than 70 per cent of the time.

GRH president and CEO Malcolm Maxwell spoke to work taking place in the hospital, including:

  • The efforts of geriatric emergency management nurses to support older adults, along with new technology to help identify health services that can be of benefit;
  • Specialized inpatient and outpatient units to more effectively meet older adults’ health needs; and
  • Research, education and partnership opportunities targeted to the needs of the hospital’s aging patient population.

A panel discussion involving GRH care providers spoke about and took questions on topics for healthy aging such as:

  • Eating well and taking part in weight-bearing exercise often;
  • Having strong social connections;
  • Building good connections with care providers; and
  • Having advanced care planning discussions early with family members so one’s wishes are known before a health crisis.

The meeting also included an update from GRH Foundation Board director Carolyn Dysart, and their focus on raising funds to support hospital equipment and services to help older adults. More than a dozen agencies also provided educational displays on community and health services in the community to benefit individuals and families.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this informative and educational event!