Community Connections Panel Discussions on ‘Aging with a Disability’

With a combined turnout of about 70 people for both events, our Community Connections Panel Discussions on Aging with a Disability in New Westminster and in North Vancouver were hugely successful.

Community Connections in New Westminster



On August 4, we held the Aging With A Disability Panel Discussion in New Westminster. Our panelists, Wanda Gendron, Halldor Bjarnason, Spring Rhodes, and Harry Cole, addressed topics such as the effects of aging on disability and how the society views a person with a disability who is aging. The panelists drew from their own experiences to try to explain the difficulties of managing one’s disability as they age, but Halldor reminded everyone at the end that aging is not entirely bad saying, “There’s this notion that aging is bad. It is not. There are many great things associated with ageing. Remember, you get wiser as you age.” Chris from the Individualized Funding Resource Centre (IFRC) also gave a brief presentation on IFRC’s programs and services. Barbara Alink also gave a demonstration of her invention, the Alinker. The Alinker is a walking vehicle designed for persons with physical disabilities. She brought the vehicles to the event and invited everyone to have a test ride. Additionally, we had light refreshments and a silent auction of items generously donated by various businesses in New Westminster.

Community Connections in North Vancouver



We held the panel discussion in North Vancouver on August 11. Spring Rhodes and Harry Cole returned as speakers. They were joined by Peter Brown and our own staff Carrie Torrans in the panel. This time the panel focused not only on the physical impact of aging with a disability, but the mental and emotional consequences as well. The panelists agreed that there is a need for a more variety of services, suggesting the expansion of counselling services and peer support programs to provide emotional and mental assistance to those in need. Inspirational humourist David Roche also gave a 30-minute comedic performance that left the audience laughing boisterously. We again had light refreshments and a silent auction of items that were generously donated by businesses in North Vancouver this time.

It was fun connecting with the members of our community through these events. I look forward to future Community Connections events!

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