Were you at Caring for Older Adults 2019?
If you were, we’re so happy that you joined us (and nearly 200 attendees) for our very first conference in Prince George last month (if you were unable to join us, presentations slides and livestream recordings are available here).
Art and Lesley Erasmus, volunteers with the Patient Voices Network (photo above, centre and right), were also excited to attend, and gave their impressions of the event recently to BC AHSN.
In an interview, Lesley described themselves as “husband-and-wife volunteers.” Residents of Terrace, Art is a retired school administrator and is still active as an elected school board trustee and Rotarian. Lesley works for three ophthalmologists and works part-time.
“We feel patients do have an opinion and a valuable one.”
After hearing about the conference being held in Prince George through the Patient Voices Network, the idea of Caring for Older Adults appealed to the couple, and they travelled together in order to attend the event.
“We applied to go to this conference as it appealed to us and our progress through this sector of our lives,” Lesley explained.
Once in the discussion groups at the event itself, Lesley and Art were pleased with the significance of the patient voice among the clinicians, physicians, researchers and members of the public who were in attendance.
“Those around us at the table seemed to value our impression as patient and patient partner,” said Art. “We were able to bring the patients voice to the table; this is very important to us.”
Special consideration was taken by the lead conference organizer, Jessie Downey, to ensure full accessibility for all attendees, including those with mobility needs. The venue was chosen for its central location in Prince George, and its proximity to accommodation adhering to the most recent standards for accessible spaces.
“The hotel being close to the conference centre was very appealing as walking long distances can be a challenge,” Lesley said. “The conference was [also] run very well. Jessie seemed to have planned out the sessions etc. very well.”
“We were very well taken care of, prior to the conference with what to expect, and during the conference,” she added.
“More accessible conferences such as this would be appreciated.”
What did Art and Lesley learn from two days of panels, discussion groups and a break-out session? Their foremost takeaways were to do with self care and preparing for a healthy future.
“We learned that frailty does not stop us, that we should try to be as healthy as possible with taking all medications prescribed and also with vaccinations,” they said. “The importance of exercise was reinforced.”
Both Lesley and Art enjoyed a complementary morning session held by a conference co-sponsor the most.
“The best session for us was when all patient partners sat together to discuss the Canadian Frailty Network’s new brochure and the content,” they recalled.
The outcomes of this session also led to feedback about what BC AHSN could do for future conferences in the future.
“More sessions with patients together with be ideal, as that way, we know we are not alone and that we all have similar issues.”
Both Lesley and Art were happy that they didn’t have to travel far to attend Caring for Older Adults.
“Thank you for bringing this to Prince George and not the Lower Mainland,” they said. “More accessible conferences such as this would be appreciated. We feel patients do have an opinion and a valuable one, and we are glad the province of BC is utilizing us!”
- To view recordings and slide sets from Caring for Older Adults 2019, please visit our conference page.