Mobility is related to maintaining physical functionality and independence, particularly for the aging population that dwells within the community. Seniors that remain mobile experience delayed onset of chronic disease, better mental health and improved physical condition.
Identifying the risk profile of the individual and providing intervention, education and physical therapy will greatly impact the frequency and severity of injuries resulting from falls or frailty, and will lead to improved mobility and resilience.
Monica Maly, Peter Keir and Jim Potvin
The Canadian workforce is aging. While many Canadians between 45 and 64 years of age aim to continue working over the next 10 years, over 2 million of them will have arthritis. The unemployment rate for people with arthritis is worse than for any other chronic health condition. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of an arthritis-specific aerobic and strengthening exercise program, delivered within the workplace, on work ability and resilience among older workers with knee or hip osteoarthritis. We will establish the first workplace exercise program designed to minimize damaging knee and hip loads among older workers with this disease.
Sinead Dufour, Julie Richardson, Jenny Ploeg, Maureen Markle-Reid, Lehana Thabane, Carrie McAiney and Holly Reimer
Limitations in mobility represent a common, costly problem amongst older adults in our health care system. The trend of an aging population elevates the significance of preservation of the capacity to live independently and to function well during late life. Therefore, cost-effective interventions for primary prevention of preclinical mobility limitation (PCML) are needed.
This pilot project will enhance understanding related to the primary prevention of PCLM through the evaluation of a self-management mobility program compared to an existing group based program.
Amanda Grenier, Jessica Gish, Brenda Vrkljan and Antonio Páez
Technology is advancing at an astonishing speed. The context of the automobile provides an opportunity to examine how in-vehicle systems might shape driving practices of older drivers and their perceptions of 'growing older.' Drawing on our interdisciplinary expertise (Geography, Social Science, Rehabilitation Science), this project aims to gather a more comprehensive picture of the following:
Another route to slowing the progression of chronic disease and maintaining functional capacity is through retaining muscle mass and strength. Dr. Gianni Parise in the Department of Kinesiology studies sarcopenia, or reduced lean muscle mass with age. Continued regular exercise combined with adequate nutrition will protect against the loss of muscle mass and maintain health and mobility, however, the optimal combination of these factors is not well understood for the aging population. Moreover, it is thought that the muscle satellite cells (MSC), implicated in muscle regeneration and strength, may be dysfunctional in the elderly. Dr. Parise's program of research studies the link between MSC activation, exercise, nutrition and age and plans to develop guidelines for the aging population in order to sustain muscle strength and mobility.
Marla Beauchamp, Dina Brooks, Roger Goldstein, Stewart Pugsley and Julie Richardson
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is highly prevalent among older adults and is a leading cause of death, disability and hospitalization in Canada. There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that older adults with COPD have important problems with their balance and a high incidence of falls compared to those of a similar age. This research will explore the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a tailored 6-month home balance exercise program for reducing falls in older adults with COPD. If the tailored home program is feasible and shows evidence of efficacy on intermediate outcomes linked to falls, this approach will represent a novel strategy for fostering resilience in the event of a fall and for reducing risk of future falls for the large population of older Canadians with COPD. Results of this pilot study will be used to develop a larger-scale trial of fall prevention for older adults with COPD with increased fall risk.
Cheryl E. Quenneville
Hip fractures are a significant concern for older Canadians, and their incidence can be reduced through implementation of protective measures for those most at risk. However, clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis (and corresponding fractures) is done using DXA scans, which are insufficient for accurately predicting this risk. Finite element (FE) models allow a complete investigation of a patient's hip, but have yet to be implemented clinically. This project will focus on developing a new technique to map a validated FE model of the hip to patient-specific parameters from DXA scans, allowing for a semi-automated clinically-relevant method to accurately predict an individual's fracture risk. This will allow implementation of preventative interventions for those most in danger prior to sustaining a devastating fracture.
Joanne Ho, Dee Mangin, Andrew Costa, Gordon Guyatt, Anne Holbrook, Reza Mirza, Julie Richardson, Justin Lee, Lehana Thabane, Kristina Frizzle
Multiple diseases, multiple medications, and age predispose seniors to drug toxicity which increases the risk of mortality and impairs mobility and cognition. GeriMedRisk-TAPERMD is a comprehensive multilevel approach to polypharmacy that integrates a geriatric pharmacology consultation service and a clinical pathway for systematic medication reduction that incorporates teamwork between patient pharmacist and physicians. It integrates patient priorities, electronic screening for potentially harmful medicines, supporting evidence tools and a monitoring pathway to support medication reduction. This project will:
Alexandra Papaioannou, Courtney Kennedy, George Ioannidis, Richard Sztramko, Dafna Merom, Laurel Trainor, Matthew Woolhouse, Amanda Grenier, Sharon Marr, Christopher Patterson
There is emerging evidence regarding the health benefits of simultaneous cognitive and physical training. Dance is a promising optimal aging strategy as it incorporates both cognitive and physical components and the social aspects may additionally contribute to adherence and effectiveness. In partnership with the YMCA, the intervention will be delivered as twice weekly dance classes for six-months. The program features a collection of ballroom dances that will be tailored to the group and increase progressively in complexity.
The DANCE study will:
Martin von Mohrenschildt, Judith M Shedden
For older drivers, maintaining safe, independent mobility is vitally important for self-sufficiency, quality of life, and self-esteem. How do good drivers adapt to maintain safe performance on the road as they age? This project will lead to a better understanding of the neural and behavioural changes involved in driving and aging so that we can develop strategies to safely maintain self-sufficiency and mobility for aging drivers by:
Brenda Vrkljan, Jessica Gish, Lauren Griffith
Driving is the preferred mode of transportation in North America and many older adults, particularly those in rural and suburban areas, rely on driving to access the people and places that keep them healthy and active. Ensuring their behind-the-wheel skills match the demands of the driving environment is important. This project brings together leading experts in aging, health, and driving from the Faculties of Social Science and Health Sciences to:1) Examine a novel training program targeting healthy older drivers that provides tailored feedback.