Hamilton Aging in Community

Our group (founded in 2013) is an aging-in-community group of community-minded individuals, mostly between our mid50s and our mid80s, residing in the Hamilton area. One member lives in a retirement home; quite a number have downsized to condo homes or seniors buildings. We are committed to learn and inform others about housing alternatives and other mutual support strategies for maturing adults and seniors. We are committed to get to know each other and to rely on each other in times of need.

Printable Overviews

What We Do

Since 2014, Hamilton Aging in Community (previous name: Hamilton Aging Together) has sponsored an annual community event in seniors’ month to promote Aging in Community approaches in Hamilton. These resilient aging events have been cosponsored by Hamilton Council on Aging and Age-Friendly Hamilton.  These events have focused on Mutual Support, Seniors Cohousing, Home Sharing, and Strengthening Connections for Older Adults in Faith Communities.

Members of Hamilton Aging in Community have been invited to speak about social participation and aging in community by the Hamilton Council on Aging, the Hamilton Seniors Advisory Committee, Ancaster Senior Achievement Centre, Halton Seniors Advisory Committee, and various programs at McMaster University.

Our Team

The website team – leadership of Hamilton Aging in Community – includes Ellen Ryan, Loretta Jaunzarins,  Sarah Ayerst (website host), and Judy Shepalo.

Leader of Hamilton Aging Together

Ellen Ryan, a gerontologist and semi-retired professor, sees later life as a time of opportunity for reflection, creativity, growth, connectedness, and contribution. She has been invited to speak about social participation and aging in community internationally and by Hamilton Council on Aging, Hamilton Third Age Learning, Hamilton Seniors Advisory Committee, Ancaster Senior Achievement Centre, Halton Seniors Advisory Committee, Na’amat Hamilton (Jewish Women’s Group), local churches, and various programs at McMaster University. See her nine-minute video on Aging in Community and also her website Writing Aging and Spirit website.

Principal Investigator for Hamilton Aging in Community Grant

Loretta Jaunzarins has been pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Hamilton since 2005. Over the years she has developed a keen interest in alternative housing and the role faith communities can play in being active participants in meeting the needs of congregational members and the local community. Her vision is to see faith communities as neighbourhood hubs providing space for a variety of community groups and other congregations. Her passion is to encourage faith communities to go beyond being welcoming to being learning centres where people gather to learn about physical and spiritual health especially in the aging process.

Housing Options

Judy Shepalo is a real estate agent with a focus on seniors, a demographic she has always loved working and volunteering with. Her goal is to provide housing options for seniors and to remove as much of the stress of moving as possible. Becoming progressively more interested in co-ownership and home sharing as a viable housing alternative, she hosted an event on May 27, 2019 in Dundas that garnered a substantial audience. She plans to hold subsequent events for those who wish to explore this option. Judy has an interest in and stays abreast of City of Hamilton changes in zoning and housing policy. An active member of the Rotary Club of Dundas, she also volunteers with Dundas Community Services and chairs the annual Dundas Seniors Day event.

Website Host

Sarah Ayerst, living in extended family and cooperative housing for decades has built a base of experience that informs her practical approach to aging in community. As both a professional and volunteer, she has cared for clients and family members with brain-injury and physical impairments. Her most treasured accomplishments were supporting people with impairments to feel as enabled and in control of their lives as possible. As an active volunteer in social justice and community building, her core passion is research and development of housing that encourages interdependence between neighbours and generations. Sarah has a broad multi-disciplinary background including business owner and working overseas with a relief and development organization.