Researchers looking at how seniors can age in their home communities in rural areas

News Release Release Date: May 6, 2014 11:00 a.m.

Many seniors, especially those in rural communities, face the choice of having to leave familiar surroundings as they get older.

Researchers from the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) at the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan have been awarded $749,335 from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) to support rural aging research that is aimed at helping seniors age in place in their home communities.

Led by researchers Dr. Bonnie Jeffery at the University of Regina (Prince Albert Campus) and Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine at the University of Saskatchewan, this three-year grant will focus on improving health outcomes and services for rural seniors.

“Population aging is one of the most critical issues facing Canada and beyond,” says Jeffery. “These projects collectively aim to identify, develop and assess interventions to support healthy aging in rural communities across Saskatchewan.”

The SHRF funding will support three interrelated studies targeted towards improving seniors' mobility, social support, built environment and information needs of existing supports and services. The first phase of the three-year project begins in April 2014.

"These studies build on our existing work in the area of healthy aging interventions to support older adults' independence and aging in place,” says Jeffery. "Using community-based research, our interdisciplinary group is a diverse team of researchers, community partners and organizational stakeholders from across the province."

Bringing together key stakeholders, including policy makers, older adults and health professionals will enable a better understanding of how to improve healthy aging for rural seniors. According to Muhajarine, partnerships and local collaboration are essential to identifying effective interventions to support healthy aging in rural and northern communities. “Through this research program, we are strongly committed to engaging with communities, partnering with older adults, mentoring new trainees and increasing Saskatchewan's capacity to address pertinent topics in the field of healthy aging,” he says.

Mike Chouinard                                                                                  
Knowledge Translation / Communications Officer
Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU)
Phone: (306) 966-5547


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