By Jessica Messerer-Trosin

Kamloops’ third annual Seniors Symposium is just around the corner.

This year’s event, entitled “Healthy Aging in Community: Aging in a New Age,” will focus on the positive things that come with growing older, according to Lorraine Mallon, volunteer coordinator at Oncore Seniors Society (OSS).

“We want to come from a place of positive, really celebrating seniors instead of highlighting and pointing out all of the things that are negative,” she said.

The whole event is organized from that approach, including Neena Chappell’s keynote presentation.

Her talk, called “The Upside of Down,” will discuss the paradox of aging.

“There are good things about growing older despite what we know are some of the downsides,” she said.

Chappell will begin by speaking a little about the downside of aging before presenting research about happiness in old age, which has shown that seniors experience at least the same level of quality of life as people who are younger.

She will talk about what to do for a better old age like regular exercise and social support, and end with talking about meaningful old age.

“That can be a very meaningful time of life,” Chappell said.

Mallon said Chappell was the first person OSS thought of for the Symposium keynote.

“She’s just a tremendous individual and we’ve had many conversations with her and, just with her credentials alone, you can see how committed she is to seniors,” Mallon said.

Chappell studied gerontology for her whole career, over 35 years.

She also established two university-based research centres on aging. One is at the University of Manitoba and the other at the University of Victoria, of which Chappell was the director for 10 years beginning in 1992.

In the new millennium Chappell was a Canada Research Chair in social gerontology for 14 years.

She is retiring July 1.

The event is a joint effort between OSS, the Centre for Seniors Information and the City of Kamloops and will be held at the Sandman Hotel in downtown Kamloops on Friday, June 10.

Having a local focus to the event will allow attendees to see what services are available for them in their own community.

Beginning at 9 a.m., the day will feature nine sessions and include lunch with live entertainment.

There are still spots open for the Symposium, but registration is required. Tickets are $20.

This year some businesses and individuals in the community are offering sponsorship to individuals who may be unable to pay the fee.

“We really want to make this accessible to all seniors,” said Mallon.

Tickets are available through OSS or The Centre for Seniors Information.