By: Michelle Song
The Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) recently launched its National Institute on Aging (NIA) to research aging from both a health and financial point of view.
TRSM has partnered with the City of Toronto, Sinai Health System, Ontario Gerontology Association and the International Federation on Aging (IFA) to create the NIA as a research centre looking at successful aging.
“The IFA believes that we do not only contribute to their [the NIA’s] agenda but joining forces to improve lives of older people in Canada and around the world,” said Jane Barratt, the secretary general of the IFA.
The institute initially emerged from the Pension Innovation and Research (PIR) centre that launched last year. NIA represents the expanded mandate of the PIR centre to look at aging on a broader scale, as one of the first institutes dedicated to looking at both the financial and health aspects of aging.
Stephanie Woodward, the executive director of the NIA, said that the fastest growing group in our population is the older generation and they’re projected to double in the next two decades. “Now one in four Canadians are over the age of 65. So that will be a significant shift in how things operate. It’s going to have an influence on public policy, it’s going to have an influence on the types of jobs we are getting and what the jobs will look like,” she said.
One of their four pillars focuses on making sure that the older Canadian population “remain independent, engaged and productive members of society.” Another pillar places emphasis on the well-being of the older generation from a health standpoint. The NIA seeks to also place more emphasis on developing public policies that will benefit older Canadians in terms of a better home care system. The final pillar focuses on offering more support for caregivers and creating a better environment for aging Canadians.
Changing the mindset of aging from something negative to seen as more of a triumph is also one of the institute’s goals, said Woodward.
“My goal will be to really bring the community together and say ‘how can we rethink aging? How can we really approach this from a different perspective?’” she said.
The NIA also provides opportunity for Ryerson students to get involved with the institute and work alongside industry professionals and executives. Not only gaining more knowledge on the issues of aging by researching and volunteering at the institute, but the networking opportunities will help the students find internships within the industry.