Each year, the Gerontology Research Centre at Simon Fraser University hosts the John K. Friesen Conference. The series, now in its 27th year, focuses on emerging areas of gerontological research and/or practice that have a direct impact on the quality of life of seniors and aging individuals.
This year, the conference theme is “From Social Isolation to Inclusion.” Throughout the late-life period, people and their support systems often experience mental health issues that impact their well-being and contribute to social isolation. Dementia and depression are two that immediately come to mind but older adults can also experience social isolation as a result of physical illness or disabilities that limit their mobility, death of loved ones, limited financial resources, lack of adequate and affordable housing and transportation and ageism. This conference discusses innovations in addressing these issues. Keynote speakers and expert panels will also describe online and paper tools that familiarize people with options available to them to engage or re-engage in the life of their local community, ICT innovations that enable them to stay in contact with friends and relatives, new support services, person-centred approaches and “best practices” with respect to outreach and increasing inclusion.
A free public lecture will also take place as part of the conference on May 16, from 1900 – 2100.