Horne: Aging in a changing world

All speakers at a recent forum spoke about innovation and solutions to create a community in Kelowna that cares about all of its citizens.

Last week a very interesting gathering was held at the Bohemian Bagel Cafe called Behind the Ballot.

Four speakers addressed issues facing Kelowna for the attendees to consider prior to going to the polls last Saturday.

As one of the speakers, I discussed the innovative thinking that is needed when facing the doubling of our over 65 population by the year 2030.

What I found incredibly interesting over the course of the entire forum, was the common theme that ran through each speaker’s words.

They all spoke about this being a time for innovation and solutions, not rhetoric, as we hope to create a community in Kelowna that cares about all of its citizens, including those that are most vulnerable—our frailer elders, the homeless and those suffering from mental illness.

What I loved about this gathering was the inspiring energy that was generated through the passion of the speakers on their individual subjects and the willingness of the audience to engage in the process of joining together with creative intention.

The Okanagan Institute is a dynamic group that organized the event and whose mission it is to ignite cultural transformation, catalyze collaborative action, build networks and foster sustainable creative enterprises. They partner with individuals, organizations, institutions and businesses to achieve optimal creative and social impact.

Learn more about them online at okanaganinstitute.com.

When it comes to addressing aging in a changing world, creativity must be engaged with by society.

As was the theme of each speaker’s eloquent message, true collaboration and a return to building community, not through words but through cooperative action together, is what will truly make a difference for the future.

If we approach the marginalized sectors of our population with caring, innovative solutions to meet their innate needs of acceptance and belonging, will it improve us as a society?

I really believe it will. Not by trying to isolate the problem and separate it away from us, but by really understanding that each person has an intrinsic right to be treated with respect and to know that individually and as a whole, we are affected by the actions that we choose to take.

Technology and business are important to building a strong community, but compassion and caring are the heart of what will make us great.

It is time for change and I saw the enthusiasm of it in the passionate connection between the intergenerational mix of people, young and old who attended this community forum.

It was uplifting. We need to start thinking outside the box and gatherings such as these bring people with a clear and positive desire to build what is truly meant by community to fruition.

We can’t just complain about what’s wrong, we have to each individually be a part of the solution. In human communities, intent, belief, resources and the sharing of common values creates the cohesiveness that makes getting the job done so much easier.

Caring for our burgeoning aging population requires a paradigm shift in our thinking. The Okanagan Institute is forming a place where people can join together to be creative called the Proof Creative and Learning Centre. Change happens one step at a time, and when people with common values unite, magic happens.

Check out more innovations for Aging In A Changing World at facebook.com/caresmartseniorsconsul-ting.