Cultivate, Enhance, Engage
Leveraging its strategic location in one of Canada’s most rapidly aging communities and its interdisciplinary strengths in Social Sciences and Humanities research, Trent University has prioritized the Trent Centre for Aging & Society as a key academic research, knowledge mobilization and community engagement initiative. The Centre's research mandate is to:
- Cultivate new areas of scholarship in aging studies.
- Enhance Trent's existing capacity in the study of aging and old age.
- Support community engagement that is responsive to the challenges and opportunities facing older people and aging communities.
The Trent Centre for Aging & Society is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Institutional Grant (SIG).
Aging Vitalities is an exciting and heartening arts-based research and participatory action project led by TCAS Executive Committee Member Dr. Nadine Changfoot where Indigenous e/Elders and settler elders each direct and create their own short multimedia documentary.
Rural Aging Research Program
Based at Trent University, in one of Canada’s most rapidly aging rural regions, the Rural Aging Research Program, created out of the now completed Canada Research Chair in Rural Aging, Health and Social Care program, works towards building new knowledge, collaborations and capacity aimed at better understanding and informing how rural communities are responding to population aging. The program is led by Dr. Mark Skinner and Dr. Elizabeth Russell, and is coordinated by Amber Colibaba.
Aging During COVID-19
TCAS was proud that seven of its members were funded by the Trent University’s Office of Research and Innovation special call for COVID-19 research. To celebrate the success of its members and to highlight the funded projects, in 2020, Dr. Elizabeth Russell produced a three-part video series, created on behalf of the TCAS Knowledge Mobilization Hub, Aging During COVID-19, exploring the experiences of aging during this global pandemic across three of our members’ projects.
Older Voluntarism in an Era of Global Pandemic
Led by TCAS executive member and founding director, Dr. Mark Skinner; TCAS director, Dr. Elizabeth Russell; and TCAS Coordinator, Amber Colibaba, this project examines the experiences and challenges of older volunteers and volunteer-based programs during COVID-19 in partnership with the Abbeyfield House Society of Lakefield, the Selwyn Fire Department, and the Selwyn Public Library.
Social Isolation to Social Connection
At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic Ann MacLeod (Trent-Fleming School of Nursing), Dr. Catherine Ward-Griffin (Western), Dawn Berry-Merriam (TCAS), Jayne Culbert (Age Friendly Peterborough) and Justine Levesque (McMaster) participated in teleconferences co-led by Peterborough Public Health, identifying social isolation as a concern for seniors and their caregivers.
Led by TCAS executive member and past director Dr. Sally Chivers, along with Tamar Daly (York University) and Julia Brassolotto (University of Lethbridge), and with the support of graduate research assistant Kate Simola, this research builds on a larger project that seeks to extend the reach of age-friendly policies to be more equitable to and supportive of populations that are not considered by official age-friendly frameworks.
A Plan of Action: 11 Recommendations to Enhance Long-Term Care Provision in Canada
For over three decades health scholars have advocated that health care services must be adapted to better align with older populations and the diverse places that they live. These recommendations aim to establish national health care system reform by improving the health of older people and the care available to them in later life. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a poignant reminder of the need for this transformation with older Canadians being inequitably affected by adversity and loss of life. As a result, the federal government has acknowledged the need to improve long-term care services across the country and have dedicated resources to developing National Standards for Long-Term Care. The insights from a Project on the Transitional Care of Rural Older Adults and 11 recommendations have been shared with Health Standards Organization as a means of ensuring that these standards are rooted in best-practice and that they are representative of the voices of older people and rural populations. These considerations are necessary to redress the inequities faced both between and within older populations and to establish contextually sensitive front-line care that is reflective of the diverse regions in this country. Laying the foundation to ensure high quality health services, these recommendations will act as a starting point to enhance long-term care provision in Canada.
Rural Older Adult Transitions in Care
The “Rural Older Adult Transitions in Care” project explored the influence of older adult health construction and the rural care context on the experiences of older adults as they transferred between: 1) a hospital and a long-term care home or 2) a hospital and a residential home in the community. The results provide insight into the ways in which rural care settings both enhance and inhibit older adult health during transitions in care. Quality rural older adult transitions in care in Haliburton County depend on rural health care providers leveraging the strengths of rural communities and redressing macro approaches to care, such as urban centrism, bed flow prioritization, biomedical dominance, systemic inequities and sectored divisions. These features of the health care system do not allow rural care providers the flexibility to adapt care to the goals, needs and preferences of rural older patients or leverage local strengths that could improve rural older adult transitions in care.