Growing our Age-Friendly Hamilton!

Thank you to the greater Hamilton community for Growing our Age-Friendly Hamilton! Hamilton was one of the first communities in Ontario to begin developing an Age-Friendly initiative in 2007. Since then, we have collectively made great progress to creating a city that addresses the needs of all age groups, including the 183,265 older adults (age 55+) currently living in Hamilton. On April 19th, the Hamilton Council on Aging, in partnership with the City of Hamilton and Seniors Advisory Committee, with the Age-Friendly Hamilton Community Collaborative hosted its first Growing our Age-Friendly Hamilton Event.

The event brought together individuals, groups and organizations who responded to the 2022 Age-Friendly Hamilton Survey telling us about Age-Friendly practices taking place in our community. Survey responses address the 7 strategic goals, 21 objectives and 61 actions outlined in Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly Community (2021-2026) ( 

This is the second year we received feedback through the Age-Friendly Hamilton Survey, and we were thrilled to have received double the submissions from last year. The 2022 Age-Friendly Hamilton Survey reported the following:

  • Total number of age-friendly practices: 50
  • Total number of different organizations: 39
  • Total number of age-friendly practices in progress: 37
  • Total number of evaluations completed to date: 13
  • Total number of age-friendly practices that involved older people in at least 1 stage of planning/implementation: 43
  • Total number of people positively impacted: 48,874!
  • Total monetary and financial contributions: $8,737,296.00!!

Thank you to those who gathered with us to share ideas, including barriers, solutions, and ways forward to build positive momentum to work in collaboration to make Hamilton and Age-Friendly City. Your input will reshape how we collect information & understand our collective goals going forward. We are encouraged by our growing Age-Friendly community network and inspired by the innovative work, creative ideas, and passion from our community to create positive change for seniors!

Aging in Place – The Co-operative Housing Sector, Hamilton, Ontario

With the growing need for affordable housing, the Co-operative Housing sector has identified that with the aging population, it is even more important to accommodate its members. 

In the mid to late eighties, funding was provided at both the provincial and federal government levels to build co-operative housing for families.  Now faced with the needs of its members as they age with varying health issues and with the onset of empty nesters, widow and widowers, it is very important to accommodate them so that they can stay within their communities.

A recent article published April 27, 2023 from the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHFC) addressed the challenges of Aging in Place and have highlighted one of its Member Co-ops which is located in Hamilton, Ontario.

In 2022, using funding from the Hamilton Community Foundation, Corktown Co-op in Hamilton bought two rundown houses next door to its 51-unit co-op apartment building. These have been demolished, and construction will begin this summer on a new 17-unit complex with 13 one-bedroom apartments and 4 townhouses.

Lynda Winter has lived at Corktown since it was built in 1989. “We have aimed for units to better suit seniors for many years. It was a real challenge to find a way to buy the buildings, but we did it!”

Plans call for 13 of the new homes to be barrier-free. The building will include an elevator to the second-floor apartments. Among other design features, all washrooms will be wheelchair accessible; doors will use levers. Lynda Winter says that a CHF Canada webinar about accessibility and universal design (December 2022) was a key inspiration for how the new building will work.

There is a commitment on behalf of the Co-operative Sector to provide more innovative and sustainable suitable homes for its aging members and additional resources are available on the CHF Website.

Reference: CHFC Newsletter April 27th, 2023 Website: – Addressing the challenges of Aging in Place – three Ontario co-ops build new accessible homes.

Community Teams Challenge Attitudes and Create Inclusive Communities

In January 2021, the Empowering Dementia Friendly Communities Project released a public call seeking volunteers living with dementia to develop local projects that would create more dementia-friendly communities. At the centre of this call was the belief that lived experience provides unique perspective to identify real life issues which we require to truly understand, evaluate, challenge, and as necessary, change the way we do things for the better!

The concept of leading with experience is nothing new for the Hamilton Council on Aging. In fact, it is the principle that the organization was founded upon eighteen years ago to address inequities for older adults and prioritize an age-inclusive community. Perhaps a foundation in a like-minded organization is a small contributor to the success of the two Leadership Teams – Dementia Friends in our Community- Hamilton and M.I.C.E. Haldimand, that were formed from this call. This of course is not to overshadow the real reason these teams have and will continue to have such impact, a direct result of the innovation, passion, creativity, and desire of seven uniquely incredible individuals using their experiences to power positive change!

Get to Know Dementia Friends in our Community — Hamilton!

Pictured: [far left] Dementia Friends members Douglas Schweyer, [second from left] Phyllis Fehr, and [far right] Debbie Keay are joined by Marnie Schatz from the Twenty Place Social Committee on March 20 at Twenty Place.

Dementia Friends in our Community (Dementia Friends) is a group of individuals, turned friends from Hamilton, ON with different backgrounds, interests, and perspectives. With this, team members share at least one thing in common, they have all been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In 2022, Dementia Friends launched a newsletter to share the knowledge and insight they have gained through their experiences to create more supportive and dementia-inclusive communities.

Dementia Friends has issued four newsletters to date, each with a unique theme. Their newsletter is available online, free-of-charge and printed copies are distributed locally and available upon request. We encourage everyone: healthcare providers, family, friends, the public and those who live with dementia to please read their newsletter to learn about what has helped them on their journeys and consider a different perspective about living with dementia.

In addition to their newsletter, Dementia Friends is committed to sharing their message of understanding, acceptance, and inclusion in different ways. They have shared their message through public interviews with local media and in March 2023 the team engaged in their first joint public speaking engagement for 100 people at Twenty Place Retirement Community to extremely positive reviews. They look forward to spreading their message at a second public speaking engagement this coming Fall in Waterloo! Dementia Friends freely share their personal stories- challenges and triumphs to help provide others with hope on their journeys with or supporting family members or friends who live with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Dementia Friends is currently seeking new members! If you live with dementia in Hamilton, ON and would like to join Dementia Friends, please contact Shelagh at 905-920-7721 or [email protected].  To learn more about Dementia Friends and read their newsletter, please visit

Get to Know M.I.C.E. Haldimand!

Visit the M.I.C.E. Mural at the Medicine Shoppe, 55 Argyle St. N. Caledonia!

Memory+ Inclusive Communities Everywhere (M.I.C.E.) is a committee of citizens from Haldimand County who live with A.B.C. Acquired Brain Changes, often referred to as dementia. Members have different diagnoses and journeys. They are committed to using the insight they have gained through their experiences to inspire a more understanding, helpful and inclusive community.

Since M.I.C.E. established last year, they have accomplished a lot. They successfully hosted the 1st M.I.C.E. Festival, a free community event to bring people together. They launched a contest to engage Haldimand artists to create original artwork for a public mural. They installed the M.I.C.E. Mural, featuring designs from 3 local artists who beautifully depict inclusive communities for everyone on the exterior wall at the Medicine Shoppe, Caledonia!

Most recently, the M.I.C.E. team launched a movement to “RENAME DEMENTIA” to disassociate from the negative origin and connotations associated with the word. They are thrilled to announce that going forward, they will refer to what was previously dementia as A.B.C. ACQUIRED BRAIN CHANGES! Learn more about this movement and why you should consider changing how you refer to “dementia” at

What’s Next? The M.I.C.E. team was successful in a funding proposal to New Horizons of Canada for their project “Create with MICE.” This project will inspire a community conversation around the importance of creating Memory+ Inclusive Communities for Everyone by highlighting the contributions of people who live with ABC: their leadership, talent, and continuing abilities to create and inspire positive change!  From September 2023 to March 2024, MICE will develop and host a series of 5 creative community-based workshops in Haldimand county, encouraging participants to explore their creative sides through various artistic mediums designed to educate, engage, inspire, and create!

Please visit to learn more and to stay up to date about upcoming projects and events.

Haldimand Curling Club donates to support M.I.C.E. Haldimand

Pictured from left: Kate Head (HCC Secretary), Kevin Proctor (HCC President), and Andrea Bridge (MICE Member) 

On March 10, 2023, The Haldimand Curling Club presented M.I.C.E. Haldimand (M.I.C.E.) with a donation of $915.60! This contribution was collected from the curling club’s “pig fund,” donated by players each season for a local charity. This season M.I.C.E. was the honoured recipient of this generous donation, to put towards their work to create a kinder, more understanding and inclusive community for everyone. M.I.C.E. extends their sincerest thanks to the Haldimand Curling Club – a local ally for believing in their vision and work led by people who live with A.B.C. (Acquired Brain Changes) to make a positive difference in Haldimand County!

HCoA 2nd Annual 5K Walk for Health raises $15,000!

By Mary Tice, Sustainability Committee Co-Chair

The Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA) Sustainability Committee organized a 5K Walk for Health fundraiser which took place on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at T.B. McQuesten Community Park.

About 70 walkers participated and were welcomed warmly by Lori Letts, President of HCoA. HCoA’s fundraising event was very successful both financially and in the atmosphere of camaraderie that was evident before, during and after the walk as we shared refreshments and conversation.

Many thanks to the walkers and all who supported the 5K Walk. Your generous donations allowed us to reach our goal of $15,000!

The proceeds from this walk will support HCoA programs to promote positive aging and the United Way of Halton and Hamilton.

Special thanks to our Corporate Sponsors:

SilverWellwise by Shoppers Drug Mart (1575 Upper Wentworth Street)

BronzeSchlegel Villages (The Village of Wentworth Heights)

Thanks also to In-Kind Sponsors:

Refreshment Sponsorlocal Fortinos stores for your generous food and beverage donations (Ancaster, Main Street West, Mall Road, and Stoney Creek)

Swag Bag ContributorsAgro Zaffiro LLP, the Hamilton Street Railway, City of Hamilton Public Health, Smilecrafters Ancaster

Thank you for your support! The HCoA is committed to working with the community to continue to advance positive aging for ALL older adults by influencing attitudes, policies, and programs to include their voices.

Thanks to Tracy Gibbs!

The Hamilton Council on Aging said so-long last month to Tracy Gibbs, who joined our team in April 2020 as the Project Manager for the Empowering Dementia-Friendly Communities – Hamilton, Haldimand Project. Later, Tracy added to her responsibilities by supporting the Age-Friendly Hamilton Governance Committee and Collaborative. Tracy consistently brought energy, enthusiasm, and respect for all community members to the work she did on these two important projects. She brought teams together, helped with strategy, and shared in the joy and stresses associated with seeing us through both projects during COVID-19. We are thrilled with the products that have emerged from her involvement – she has laid a solid foundation for creating a more inclusive Hamilton! Thank you Tracy – we hope your future will include collaborations with the Hamilton Council on Aging in future.

HCoA Community Outreach Committee 

The Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA) Community Outreach Committee helps to facilitate communication and information sharing between the HCoA and our community. As a liaison between the Council and the Hamilton community, the Community Outreach Committee works to:  support connections with a number of different community organizations; prepares and distributes the biannual HCoA newsletter; and collaborates in the development of social media and web content.

The HCoA Community Outreach Committee is comprised of the following members:

Lori Letts is a Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University and is Board Chair of the HCoA. Lori’s current research focuses on older adults with chronic illnesses and finding ways to help them to live with and manage their conditions while being active community-dwellers

Sharon Pierson is Executive Vice President, Clinical Operations, and Chief Operating Officer  & Chief Nursing Executive with Hamilton Health Sciences. Sharon works with numerous community organizations to advance and support the care of older adults in hospital and the community. 

Heather Watson is an associate lawyer at Agro Zaffiro LLP, focusing in the area of estates. Her practice consists of estate litigation, estate administration, and estate planning 

Nicole Dalmer, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University and is also the Associate Director of the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging at McMaster. Her research takes up the connections (both to people and to technologies) we create and maintain in later life. The Community Outreach Committee is compiling contributions for the newsletter, and will in future focus on our website and social media. If you have suggestions or questions, please contact us at: [email protected].

Participants Needed For Research!

Experiences of Black Canadians living with Dementia in Greater Toronto and Hamilton area and their care partners in providing care.

Dr. Ingrid Waldron and Dr. Lydia Kapiriri, professors at McMaster University, are looking for Black Individuals living with dementia and their care partners who live in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area (GTHA), to participate in an interview for the study that will help us understand the experiences of persons living with dementia have accessing services. From the care partners we are seeking to learn about their experiences providing care and accessing services.

The interviews will take place online via Zoom or in person at your home. In appreciation for your time, you will each receive $50 in cash or through e-transfer, depending on your preference.

For more information about this study, or to participate in this study, please contact: 
Brenda J Nayiga at [email protected] or 905-525-9140 ext. 24136

Another Research Opportunity!

Join our database & participate in studies to help us better understand swallowing.

If you are at least 18 years of age and willing to be contacted for potential research studies, contact us to be listed on our private database. You will receive a phone call or email when a new study comes up where we are looking for participants.

There is no obligation to participate in the study once you are contacted about it, if eligible. Swallowing difficulties are not required to participate.

For more information about this study, or to participate in this study, please contact: [email protected] or (289) 426-0843