Thank you so much for coming and for giving us your time today. I'm looking forward to engaging with you a little further and hearing your thoughts and ideas on different things.
A shift has been taking place in society over the last few centuries. Seniors were once within our homes, and our aging parents were cared for within a home environment. They were a part of the family, so there wasn't this problem or concern with regard to isolation.
There was also something else that took place, and that was that those with grey hair were looked to as people with wisdom, experience and groundedness, and they were able to contribute to the overall home environment and its productivity. Perhaps they didn't invest in a way that brought about economic benefit to the home, but they were able to invest in a way that brought about stability, and they were valued for that.
There were also some contributions made, when possible, toward child care and the overall well-being of the home. Elders were people to be respected, honoured, valued and cherished. There was this worth that was attributed to age.
Fast forward to 2019, and people want to be younger. Youthfulness is the trump card; it's the crème de la crème. We see it in facial products that are advertised for women. We see it in the push toward small surgeries in order to help a person's face look less aged or in hair implants for those who might be losing their hair. We see it with hair dye and wanting to move from grey to blonde. All these things point us in this direction. According to this belief, age is to be avoided and youthfulness is to be pursued.
In 2015, one of the first acts of the current government was to get rid of the minister for seniors and put in a minister for youth. Putting a minister for seniors in place was really bold, and it was the right move of the previous governments because they saw the trends and where we were going as an aging society, and the fact that this demographic was going to make up the bulk of Canada.
Now we find ourselves in this place where youthfulness is again held at a high standard, I guess, and where seniors unfortunately are not. They're often overlooked.
Everything from government policies and marketing to the conversations we have within our families and the conversations we have at work impacts our view of the aging population. They have lost their value in our society, and that is very sad because we are talking about women and men who have worked incredibly hard to give back to this country, who have raised families, who have built careers and who have contributed in positive ways.
My question for you is this: How do we better include those who are aging in our day-to-day lives? When we talk about prevention, families have a very key role to play. Governments have a key role to play. Society as a whole has a very key role to play. The responsibility is on each and every one of us, and there needs to be a mind shift that takes place. How do we do that?