The National Seniors Council, which advises the government on the health, well-being and quality of life of the country’s seniors, welcomed Cindy Starnino, CIUSSS Director of Academic Affairs, as a new member this past June.
Ms. Starnino joins a team of Council members composed of seniors, representatives of organizations that serve seniors, and experts on seniors and aging. This heterogeneous group guides the government in developing a full range of policies, programs and services that will most closely serve the needs—and meaningfully impact the lives—of Canada’s senior population.
“The Council tackles the most important matters related to seniors, making recommendations from an evidence-informed perspective,” Ms. Starnino explains. “We look at topics like ageism, social and economic inclusion, accessibility to services and caregiver support. All along, we engage with seniors, who are vital in determining their own priorities and needs.”
A social worker by training, Ms. Starnino brings thirty years of experience working with seniors to her two-year term on the Council. She has developed cutting-edge services in caregiving and health promotion programs, as well as interventions to prevent elder abuse. As Director of the University Affiliated Research Centre in Social Gerontology, Ms. Starnino co-created the Elder Mistreatment Helpline of Quebec, an initiative mandated by the Quebec government. In that role, she also oversaw training across the province based on best practices.
“Serving on the Council is a great opportunity to share my extensive experience, as well as to collaborate with colleagues across two federal ministries who are involved in senior care,” says Ms. Starnino, a past Director of the Support Program for the Autonomy of Seniors (SAPA) of the former CSSS Cavendish. “Quebec developed a model for integrated health and social services for seniors and also has a government policy on aging, Aging and Living Together. These pace-setting initiatives can be adapted by different jurisdictions to meet the needs of seniors across the country.”
“We are at a pivotal time in our history as a nation with respect to our aging population,” points out Ms. Starnino. “The role of the Council will continue to expand along with the rise in the population over the age of 65, which is expected to double in the next quarter-century. That unprecedented growth is changing the entire fabric of our society.”
“Seniors have shaped our nation,” says Ms. Starnino. “The National Seniors Council will help to ensure that their voices will continue to be heard.”