By Ben Forrest
Postmedia Content Works
A much-loved community resource that helps Alberta seniors age in place, on their own terms, is back by popular demand.
The Virtual Seniors Forum, organized by Age Friendly Edmonton and Sage Seniors Association (Sage), is available free to anyone wishing to join by computer or phone.
This year’s event runs from Nov. 15 to 16, and delivers presentations on seniors housing, health, and wellness in sessions packed with information. It also provides opportunities for seniors across the province to connect socially in engaging discussions on topics that matter to them.
“The purpose of the forums is to connect people to information, resources, and each other,” said Nicole Smith, director of research and community engagement at Sage.
“Everything that we do at Sage — and the forums are no small part of that — is about making sure that people have what they need to age where and how they want.
“That includes social connection, a sense of belonging, a feeling of value, purpose and meaning in your life.”
The Virtual Seniors Forum is the online and phone-based equivalent of two popular events held in person prior to the pandemic: the Seniors Housing Forum and the Seniors Health and Wellness Forum.
Starting in 2020, the forums were combined and shifted into a virtual space.
All sessions are offered free via Zoom (with the option to join by phone), and the sessions are saved for 12 months on the Virtual Seniors Forum website.
This new virtual format makes it possible for people in rural and remote communities to take part, as well as seniors and caregivers in larger centres.
“We know that there is a consistent - and growing - need for this information,” said Smith. “And offering it online and by phone allows us to reach people who might not have access to it otherwise.”
The speakers for this year’s forum are still being confirmed, but there will be presentations on seniors housing options, transportation, and how to remain physically healthy and mentally well.
Anyone with an interest in these topics is welcome to join, but in the past most attendees have been seniors and their caregivers. The Virtual Seniors Forum is designed to be immersive, inclusive, and accessible to everyone.
“It’s informative, it’s fun and people are able to engage,” Smith said. “I encourage everybody to give it a try … we want seniors to have the tools they need to age in place, and the Virtual Forum is a great way for us to share that information.”
For more information, and to register for the Virtual Seniors Forum, visit seniorsforum.ca or call 780-809-9405. Registration is entirely free.