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 During COVID-19
TCAS is thrilled to announce that seven of its members are involved in projects, 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, TCAS has put together a new three-part video series, 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
The first video highlights the project Older Voluntarism in an Era of Global Pandemic, led by TCAS executive member and founding director, Dr. Mark Skinner; TCAS director, Dr. Elizabeth McCrillis; and TCAS research associate, 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 a social isolation as a concern for seniors and their caregivers. Eight local organizations collaborated in this Participatory Action Research (PAR) to examine the health experiences of frail community-dwelling seniors, family and formal caregivers from urban, rural, and indigenous communities during the COVID-19 pandemic in our region. Preliminary findings stemming from analysis of virtual interviews, and documents enabled participants and the larger Age Friendly Peterborough Network to identify supports needed and prioritize recommendations to mitigate the negative impacts of social isolation. See the recommendations in the Final Report Social Isolation to Social Connection or a Summary and links to Age-Friendly Peterborough.
The Working Groups of Age Friendly Peterborough are now actively addressing the recommendations derived from the research that were put forth at the Annual Age Friendly Peterborough meeting in December 2020. If there are students, seniors, business owners, or elected or non-elected decision makers interested in getting involved, please contact Ann Macleod (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jayne Culbert (email@example.com).
Click here to read an article on the project in Peterborough Currents. Click here to listen to Ann MacLeod and Justine Levesque on the Public Health Insights Podcast. Contact Ann MacLeod, at the Trent-Fleming School of Nursing at 705-748-1011 x 7386 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to contribute to enacting the recommendations.
The last video showcases the project Imagine Aging, 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. The initial project included research in six different countries, comparing services for older adults and developing promising practices for equitable and just aging for all through digital storytelling. This video profiles how Dr. Chivers is adapting the project, through digital cues – short videos that invite a broader conversation – to continue within the reality of COVID-19 restrictions.
Based out of Concordia University, Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) is a multi-methodological research project that brings together researchers and institutional and community partners to address the transformation of the experiences of ageing with the proliferation of new forms of mediated communications in networked societies. ACT is comprised of researchers, students, and community and institutional partners from around the world including Trent Centre for Aging and Society faculty Dr. Stephen Katz and Dr. Barbara Marshall.
Community Reintegration of Aging Offenders (CRAO): Gaps in Knowledge Report - May 2019
Led by Dr. Mark Skinner and in collaboration with Correctional Service Canada (CSC), Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), and Peterborough Reintegration Services (PRS), this report establishes a base of knowledge about key gaps in the community reintegration of previously incarcerated older adults, and how to move forward to enhance the work of CSC, CACs, and community reintegration services.
Amber Colibaba, Research Coordinator for the Rural Aging CRC Program, Trent University, is the main contact for this project. She can be reached at acolibaba [at] trentu.ca or (705) 748-1011 ext. 7978 to receive a copy of the report.
Sharing Dance for Active Seniors
In partnership with Canada's National Ballet School, Baycrest Heath Sciences, and Brandon University, Dr. Mark Skinner (Trent) and Dr. Rachel Herron (Brandon) are the co-principle investigators of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Alzheimer's Society of Canada funded ($477,178 over four years) project titled: "Improving Social Inclusion for Canadians with Dementia and Carers through Sharing Dance." The project aims to study innovative ways of improving social inclusion for Canadians living with dementia. Ranked first in the national funding competition, Prof. Skinner’s project was commended by CIHR for its emphasis on older people and their caregivers in rural areas.
After an initial "dress rehearsal," the first quantified study begins in Peterborough in autumn 2017 and the next phase moves to Brandon, Manitoba in winter 2018.
Bodies in Translation
Dr. Nadine Changfoot and Dr. Sally Chivers have joined a research team of nearly two-dozen university and community partners across Canada who were recently awarded the number one ranked $2.5 million Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant (2017-2024) to challenge misconceptions about disability and marginalized communities.
The project entitled “Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life,” will be led by Dr. Carla Rice, Canada research chair in care, gender and relationships at the University of Guelph and Dr. Eliza Chandler of Ryerson University in Critical Disability Studies. Dr. Nadine Changfoot, chair of Political Studies at Trent, is the Trent research lead. In Peterborough, the project will produce short multimedia videos made by older and intergenerational community members including artists, healthcare providers, and aging and disability advocates who experience the intersections of aging, disability and multiple differences, including gender, race, sexuality, and class.
Dr. Sally Chivers, a faculty member in the English Literature department, will also contribute to the project. She will be involved in multimedia workshops making her own videos alongside Dr. Changfoot. The Trent Centre of Aging & Society, of which both researchers are members, will support the workshops. Peterborough community partners in the project include GreenUP, Peterborough Council on Aging, Mysterious Entity Theatre, and the ReFrame Film Festival.
History of Canadian Aging Studies Archive
Facilitated by TCAS, Trent University's iconic Bata Library is now home to the archives of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, a resource that traces the development of the field of gerontology in Canada.
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.
Read the report here. TCAS Graduate Associate Member, Laura Poulin, is the main contact for this report. She can be reached at lpoulin [at] trentu.ca.