Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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Community Development and Older Adults

(Chapter 13 by Mélanie Levasseur, Daniel Naud, and Sonia Routhier)

Relevant Readings

Blair, T. and Minkler, M. (2009). Participatory Action Research with Older Adults: Key Principles in Practice. The Gerontologist 49(5), 651–662. https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/49/5/651/640312/

Provides a review of 10 studies on Participatory Action Research (PAR) in gerontology, highlighting key studies and their implications. Involving older adults in PAR, while labour intensive and challenging, may offer promise as an underdeveloped resource for the field of social gerontology, as well as for older adults themselves.

Dickinson, R. (2013). Community Engaged Research Literature and Methodology Review. Canadian Centre for Elder Law. https://www.bcli.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Older-Womens-Dialogue-Project-Literature-review-FINAL.pdf

Examines the use of Participatory Action Research as a potential methodology for work with older women within their community, to improve health and well-being through empowerment. Addresses roles, responsibilities, and outcomes with the understanding that Participatory Action Research is a dynamic process.

Finding the Right Fit: Age-Friendly Community Planning. (n.d.). Government of Ontario. https://www.ontario.ca/document/finding-right-fit-age-friendly-community-planning

Offers a framework to plan and implement a community action or project according to the participatory principles of community development. Provides real-life examples from Ontario community development projects.

Fung, A. (2006). Varieties of Participation in Complex Governance. Public Administration Review 66, 66–75. http://faculty.fiu.edu/~revellk/pad3003/Fung.pdf

Fung explores the forms of community and political participation across three axes: 1) Participant Selection Method 2) Modes of Communication and Decision 3) Extent of Authority and Power. The axes form the Democracy Cube to compare and visualise the varieties of participatory mechanisms and professionalized arrangements. This allows one to evaluate community projects according to the concepts of legitimacy, justice and effectiveness.

James, K. and Dickinson, R. L. (2016). Engaging Older Women in Your Community. Canadian Centre for Elder Law. https://cnpea.ca/images/promising_practices_3rd_draft_oct4-2017.pdf

A guide to enhance the capacity of practitioners from all sectors, including law, policing, government, health care, finance, social services, and housing, to consider the impact of both aging and gender on the experiences of older women, and to include older women more actively in agency initiatives. To combat the many systemic issues and barriers negatively impacting older women, the authors use the Older Women’s Dialogue Project Approach, wherein older women are valued as experiential experts and leaders, similar to a fundamental characteristic of effective community development.

Norad. (2013). A Framework for Analysing Participation in Development. Norad Evaluation Department. https://www.oecd.org/derec/norway/NORWAY_A_FrameworkforAnalysingParticipationDevelopment.pdf

Explores community participation as it may form a core component of the intervention logic of some programmes or projects. Proposes a framework that could be used prior to the start of a project, to understand the forms of participation, such as organic participation (i.e., collective action organised by the community) and induced participation (e.g., generated through program decentralisation). The framework can also be used after a project to evaluate its implementation.

Outside the Box. (2015). Building Community-Based Support with Older People: Evidence from research and other reports. https://otbds.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/buildingcommunitybasedsupportwitholderpeople23.pdf

Brings together the evidence and analysis from many of the major research teams, policy analysis and innovative thinkers who are looking at effective support for older people, drawn from the experiences of thousands of local community-based activities and public services.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Community Tool Box


A free and exhaustive online resource for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change, provided by the Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas. Proposes hundreds of modules on community assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, and advocacy.

Index of Community Engagement Techniques


The Tamarack Institute organized almost 50 techniques, along a community engagement continuum (inform, consult, involve, collaborate, and empower). For each engagement level, they provide multiple techniques, recommended resources, and considerations.

Participatory Asset Mapping


In Participatory Asset Mapping, community members specifically identify community assets and barriers to accessing them. Participatory mapping is a community-based action research process that supports strategic planning efforts by building on existing community strengths. It can build community cohesion and empowerment, bring community members together to generate a shared awareness and understanding of community assets.

Relevant Videos

Seniors Health Knowledge Network. (2015, September 8). Age-Friendly Communities: An Introduction. YouTube. (45 minutes). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_apac3tvIw

This is the first of a series of webinars on Age-Friendly Communities and how they benefit older adults, with Canadian examples. Dr. John Puxty presents the concept of Age-Friendly Communities and discusses planning and implementing a community project, using an inclusive, grassroots approach.

The Engagement and Contributions of Older Persons in Society

(Chapter 14 by Peggy Edwards)

Relevant Readings

Barron, J. S., Tan, E, J., Yu, Q. et al. (2009). Potential for Intensive Volunteering to Promote the Health of Older Adults in Fair Health. Journal of Urban Health 86, 641–653. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-009-9353-8

This article presents an analysis of 174 older adult volunteers serving in Experience Corps Baltimore, a high-intensity senior volunteer program in Baltimore, Maryland. After volunteering, a majority of volunteers in every baseline health status category described increased strength and energy. Those in fair health were significantly more likely to display improved stair-climbing speed than those in good or excellent/very good health, and many showed clinically significant increases in walking speed of 90.5 m/s. The authors conclude that clinicians should consider whether their patients in fair or good health, as well as those in better health, might benefit from high-intensity volunteer programs. Productive activity such as volunteering may be an effective community-based approach to health promotion for older adults.

Chen, Y., Putnam, M., Lee, Y. S., et al. (2019). Activity Patterns and Health Outcomes in Later Life: The Role of Nature of Engagement, The Gerontologist 59(4), 698–708. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny023

This study uses data from the (US) Health and Retirement Study to identify the patterns of participating in 33 activities as well as patterns of nature of engagement, and examined how these patterns were associated with cognition, depressive symptoms, and self-rated health in later life. Those engaged in meaningful patterns of activity (high, medium), compared to low and passive activities, showed better health and cognition outcomes. The nature of engagement mediated the relationship between activity patterns and health, especially for older adults who were either full or partially engaged. The nature of engagement may play a more important role than the activity itself in relation to health. Identifying the heterogeneity in activity engagement in later life is critical for tailoring interventions and designing programs that can improve the health of older adults.

Godbout, E., Filiatrault, J., Plante, M. (2012). La participation des aînés à des activités de bénévolat: une revue systématique [The participation of seniors in volunteer activities: a systematic review]. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy 79(1), 23–32. https://doi.org/10.2182%2Fcjot.2012.79.1.4

This systematic review identifies factors influencing the engagement of older adults as volunteers, including factors related to each individual, their daily activities, and their broader environment, as well as concrete ways to facilitate the recruitment of seniors and maintain their participation in volunteer activities.

Edwards, P. (2021). Grandma has rights too! Fifty-Five Plus, 21. https://console.virtualpaper.com/fifty-five-plus-magazine/ottawa-januaryfebruary-2021/#38/

All people regardless of sex, gender identity, race, ethnicity, ancestral origin, and age deserve the rights to health, dignity, education, social security, a safe home, freedom from violence, non-discrimination, and protection when needed. In this Healthy Boomer column, Edwards discusses how ageism, vulnerability, and invisibility has denied many grandmothers and older women these rights. She urges Canada to show leadership on protecting the rights of Grandma and other older people by supporting a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons and domestic policies protecting the rights of older women.

Heymann, J., Levy, J., Bose, B. et al. (2019). Improving health with programmatic, legal, and policy approaches to reduce gender inequality and change restrictive gender norms. The Lance 393(10190), 2522–2534I. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)30656-7/fulltext

This article, which is part of a Lancet series on gender equality, norms, and health, examines how laws and policies significantly affect gendered health outcomes and gender norms. Laws and policies that made primary education tuition-free and that provided paid maternity and parental leave significantly improved women's and their children's health and gender equality in household decision making. Increased equality partially mediated the positive effects on health outcomes. The authors conclude by discussing examples of how improved governance can support gender-equitable laws, policies, and programmes, immediate next steps, and future research needs.

Lapham, L. (2014). Old Masters. New York Times Magazine. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/23/magazine/old-masters-at-top-of-their-game.html

In this essay, Lewis Lapham (with photographs by Erik Madigan Heck) paints portraits of men and women in their 80s and 90s, rich in the rewards of substantial and celebrated careers, who are still learning, working, and creating. He asks these old masters, from the fields of business, the arts, justice, architecture, and athletics, why they persist in an unceasing effort to discover or create something new? In doing so he learns an important lesson: “that the tree of knowledge and the fountain of youth are one and the same.”

LINKAGES Reading List: Social Capital in Older Age. (2019). Seniors Health Knowledge Network. https://sagelink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Social-Capital-in-Older-Age.pdf

Topics include social participation, engaging older adults, age-friendly communities, and more.

National Seniors Council (2010). Report of the National Seniors Council on Volunteering Among Seniors and Positive and Active Aging. Employment and Social Development Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/national-seniors-council/programs/publications-reports/2010/volunteering-among-seniors/page01.html

This report provides an overview of positive and active aging and volunteering among seniors; and a synopsis of nine roundtables held in 2009, with a focus on the key related issues. and the Councils' suggestions for federal government action.

Ng, E. (2020). COVID-19 IMPACTS: Retirees and Family Finances in Canada. Vanier Institute Family. https://vanierinstitute.ca/covid-19-impacts-retirees-and-family-finances-in-canada/

While it is too early to draw a clear picture of the diverse ways COVID-19 has impacted retirement in Canada, early data shows that retirees are less financially impacted on average, as pre-retirees seem to have been more exposed to the economic impacts. Nonetheless, surveys show that many workers are adapting their retirement plans. About 1 in 5 retirees (21%) reported that the pandemic had affected their ability to assist other family members financially. Among the pre-retirees, who were more exposed to the economic shock produced by COVID-19, the rate was 45%. Retirees who received income assistance from their children or grandchildren (some of whom could be pre-retirees) may therefore have also been indirectly affected in this way.

Oickle, D. (2020). Community engagement: A public health strategy to inform action on health inequities. National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH). https://nccdh.ca/blog/entry/community-engagement-a-public-health-strategy-to-inform-action-on-health-in

In this blog post, Oickle identifies new and past NCCDH resources that address how to incorporate the lived experiences of equity-seeking populations into public health work.

Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance, Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse, and the Canadian Cancer Society. (2007). Primer to Action: Social Determinants of Health. https://www.ocdpa.ca/publications/primer-action-social-determinants-health

This is a resource for health professionals, lay workers, volunteers, and activists to explore how the social determinants impact chronic disease. It is intended to help you navigate through barriers in your organization or group and offer concrete “primers” to get you going with action to increase access to the social determinants for yourself, your family, and those with whom you work.

Revera (2019). Living a Life of Purpose. https://cdn.reveraliving.com/-/media/files/reports-on-aging/reverareport_livingalifeofpurpose.pdf?rev=6cf27c2cf8874bc89cfdb313e2cf244a&hash=733CBC9AA0756E2820741EAF30F6E7B1&_ga=2.233812445.2130857215.1628603538-319427660.1628085834

This report presents the finding of an online Leger survey of 1,000 Canadian adults 65 and older, and discussion groups with 150 residents at held at 12 Revera retirement residences and long-term care homes to understand the causes older Canadians care about, why they care about them, and how they contribute to those causes. Older Canadians are the most generous demographic when it comes to giving their time and money to the causes that are important to them—they are committed to creating a better world.

Romano A. (2019). “OK boomer” isn’t just about the past. It’s about our apocalyptic future. Vox. https://www.vox.com/2019/11/19/20963757/what-is-ok-boomer-meme-about-meaning-gen-z-millennials

OK Boomer, the phrase-turned-meme which became popular thanks to the video-sharing platform TikTok, embodies the frustrations of young people who feel they're being talked over and overlooked by an older generation. The broader background to this resentment and the OK Boomer meme is the perceived irony that while boomers nitpick and judge younger generations for their specific choices, it’s the boomers’ own choices that created the bleak socioeconomic and environmental landscape that millennials and Gen Z currently face. In the end, the debate around OK boomer might be another iteration of the endless parade of internet-fueled ideological debates in which neither side is listening to the other. For frustrated millennials and teens, OK boomer is an emotionally valid response to boomer condescension, but to frustrated baby boomers, it sounds insolent and disrespectful. Perhaps it’s worth eschewing the meme altogether and having one more conversation across the generation gap. Note: For additional conversation, see “OK Boomer: harmless ribbing or ageist insult?” (2019) at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ok-boomer-ottawa-morning-1.5410930

Standing Committee on the Status of Women (2019). A Lifetime of Dedication: Helping Senior Women Benefit from their Lifelong Contributions to Canadian Society today. https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/FEWO/report-17/page-45#5

Senior women in Canada face social and economic challenges that many senior men do not, and these challenges can negatively affect their quality of life. In this report, the Committee provides an overview of senior women’s economic security, their health and wellness, and their experiences of discrimination and violence. It examines issues related to: the gender wage gap and employment; caregiving; the affordability and availability of housing and transportation services; the costs of medication; the availability of home and community care; social isolation; ageism; and elder abuse. In its report, the Committee makes 27 recommendations to provide guidance to the Government of Canada on measures that could be implemented to reduce levels of poverty among senior women, improve senior women’s physical and mental health as well as their quality of life as they age, and eliminate discrimination and violence against senior women.

Viscogliosi, C., Asselin, H., Basile, S. et al. (2020). Importance of Indigenous elders’ contributions to individual and community wellness: results from a scoping review on social participation and intergenerational solidarity. Canadian Journal of Public Health 111, 667–681. https://doi.org/10.17269/s41997-019-00292-3.

This study aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of how Indigenous elders’ social participation contributes to individual and community wellness. Indigenous elders contributed to wellness mainly through relationships and interactions with other community members and non-Indigenous people (72.2%); intergenerational oral and written communications (70.1%); community, social, and civic life (45.8%); volunteering and jobs (35.4%); and family life (29.9%). Elders transmit traditional knowledge, strengthen social cohesion, and help to develop positive attitudes such as reciprocity. Their actions favour disease prevention and health promotion.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Note: Please see the General Resources section for organizations that advocate with and for older persons (e.g., CARP, ILC Canada, CAG). The organizations and websites described below are in addition.

Association Canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants retraités—Canadian Association of Retired Teachers (ACER-CART)


ACER-CART is a national bilingual association of Members representing over 160,000 retired teachers from Canada’s ten provinces and Yukon Territory. It has been in existence since 1991. ACER-CART operates in the interests of its members by facilitating liaison and mutual assistance among them, and by promoting and supporting public education. ACER-CART advocates for national policies that are necessary in building a strong social and economic fabric that responds to the needs of aging Canadians. Links to each provincial and territorial associations can be found on their website.

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)


The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) is committed to upholding the rights of low-income seniors. Its purpose is to improve the quality of life of seniors in Ontario by providing legal services which include direct client assistance, public legal education, law reform, community development, and community organizing. The website contains many useful resources and a library of articles on legal aspects related to pensions and income, elder abuse, health care consent and advance care planning, wills, powers of attorney, home care, long-term care, retirement homes, and hospitals.

Aging Activisms


An activist-research collective, Aging Activisms explores the diverse ways that activists of different ages, abilities, genders, and backgrounds resist injustices and create change across different movements and throughout their lives. Its home is Trent University, which is located in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough, Canada), on Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg territory. The website includes helpful resources: articles, books, reports and media collections.

Canadian Federation University Women (CFUW)


CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace.

Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations BC (COSCO)


Established in 1950, COSCO is an umbrella organization made up of many seniors’ organizations and individual associate members. COSCO, which represents approximately 80,000 seniors in British Columbia, is run by volunteers, with activities coordinated through an elected Board of Directors. COSCO’s mandate is to promote the well-being of seniors and their families, advocating for policies that allow seniors to remain active, independent, and fully engaged in the life of our province. The organization is non-partisan, but politically active, advocating for seniors’ needs no matter who is in power. Note: please search for “Coalitions/associations of seniors’ organizations” to find coalition organizations in other provinces. For example, in a search for Manitoba, the following came up: Manitoba Seniors Coalition (MSC): https://manitobaseniorscoalition.ca

DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN) Canada


DAWN Canada is a national, feminist, cross-disability organization whose mission is to end the poverty, isolation, discrimination, and violence experienced by Canadian women with disabilities and Deaf women. DAWN works towards the advancement and inclusion of women and girls with disabilities and Deaf women in Canada. The organization’s overarching strategic theme is one of leadership, partnership, and networking to engage all levels of government and the wider disability and women’s sectors and other stakeholders in addressing key issues.

The Elders


The Elders are an international group of independent leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007, who use their collective experience and influence for peace, justice, and human rights worldwide. The group includes peace-makers, social revolutionaries, pioneering women, and change-makers, who no longer hold public office and are independent of any national government or other vested interest. In 2020, some of the members were Mary Robinson, first woman President of Ireland; Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary General; Jimmy Carter, former US President; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia; and Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Laureate. Current initiatives address conflict and peace, ethical leadership, climate change, gender equality, refugees and migration, and intergenerational dialogue, as well as other issues. The Elders demonstrate how a small, dedicated group of older persons can help tackle some of the most pressing problems facing the world today.

Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN)


GRAN is a non-partisan network of volunteers working together across Canada to advocate at local, national, and international levels for the human rights of grandmothers, children, and youth of sub-Saharan Africa. GRAN educates to raise public awareness and invite engagement; advocates to influence national and global policymakers; and partner with like-minded organizations to amplify our voices and increase our impact. Their website contains multiple resources for advocacy.

National Association of Federal Retirees (Federal Retirees)


Federal Retirees is the largest national advocacy organization representing active and retired members of the federal public service, Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and retired federally appointed judges, their partners, and survivors. Operating since 1963, Federal Retirees has a proud history of advocacy on behalf of our close to 170,000 members and all retirees from coast-to-coast. Current advocacy priorities include retirement income security, national seniors’ strategy, veteran well-being, and pharmacare.

National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults (engAGED)


engAGED is a national (USA) effort to increase the social engagement of older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers by expanding and enhancing the Aging Network’s capacity to offer social engagement. engAGED identifies and disseminates information about emerging trends and best practices and develops social engagement resources and replication strategies that the Aging Network can customize for use in their communities. The extensive resource list on the website includes a variety of social engagement innovations, guidance, and tools.

National Pensioners Federation (NPF)


NPF is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian organization of 350 seniors’ chapters, clubs, groups, organizations, and individual supporters across Canada with a collective membership of 1,000,000 seniors and retirees devoted entirely to the welfare and best interests of aging Canadians. NPF aims to help seniors and retirees have a life of dignity, independence, and financial security through educating their members and the general public on issues such as: pensions, housing, health care, democracy, social programs, elder abuse, transportation, and affordable access to information.

Older Women’s Network (OWN)


OWN is a voice for mid-life and older women in Canada, one that challenges discrimination on the basis of age, gender, religion, or disability. OWN is a volunteer organization that addresses the social and political issues that are important to all women. Since 1988, OWN has sponsored public forums and advised government policymakers on issues such as ageism and the feminization of poverty, gender equality and human rights, affordable, supportive housing for women, pension reform, financial planning and retirement security, electoral reform, and elder abuse.

Pensioners Concerned (PC)


PC is a volunteer non-profit organization and community partner in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Volunteers prepare income tax returns and provide assistance with government forms for seniors, low income, physically challenged, and new Canadian citizens. Their website provides some general income tax tips that may be helpful to tax payers and links to additional information on Canada Revenue Agency’s website.

Raging Grannies


The Raging Grannies are activist organizations in many cities and towns in Canada, the United States, and in other countries. They are social justice activists, all women old enough to be grandmothers, who dress up in clothes that mock stereotypes of older women and sing songs at protests. They typically write the lyrics themselves, putting their political messages to the tunes of well-known songs. Their activism includes peace and environmental causes.

Réseau FADOQ


Réseau FADOQ is the largest association of people aged 50 and over in Canada, with nearly 550,000 members. The organization makes representations to various bodies with the aim of maintaining and improving seniors’ quality of life today and tomorrow. FADOQ takes every opportunity to raise awareness and ensure that the voices of seniors are represented and considered, especially concerning political issues. Key advocacy issues include: income and retirement, health and abuse, residences and housing, experienced workers, and caregivers. FADOQ operates in French and English. Their website has numerous resources for older adults and their advocates.

Royal Canadian Legion


The Legion is a democratic, non-partisan, member-based organization. The Legion endeavors to make a difference in the lives of veterans, including military and RCMP members and their families; to support our communities and our country, and to always remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The Legion advocates for the care and benefits for all who served Canada, regardless of when or where they served.

Vanier Institute of the Family: Factsheets and Infographics

Note: See also Councils on Aging in various cities. Councils on Aging are community/city based not-for-profit organizations that provide a leading community voice for seniors in that location. Most engage in advocacy, education, research, and planning. Search for Council on Aging in your selected location.

Relevant Videos

Aging Activisms. (2016). Montreal Media Capsules. Vimeo. https://www.agingactivisms.org/montreal-media-capsules

Created in intergenerational clusters in Montreal in 2016, these short videos showcase passionate, bold, and thoughtful activists of different ages, backgrounds, genders, and abilities telling their stories in their own words.

Aging Activisms. (2019).Storying Activisms: Reshaping Cultural Imaginaries of Aging. Vimeo. (11 minutes). https://vimeo.com/322808054

This video explores the question “What might critical intergenerational activist storytelling contribute to aging studies?” It offers a way to provide counter narratives to negative dominant scripts by hearing stories from groups most often unheard, including women and gender diverse people, Indigenous peoples, people living with disabilities, and people in the LGBTQ2+ community.

Steinem, Gloria. (2020). To Future Generations of Women. You are the Roots of Change. Ted Talk. (13 minutes). https://www.ted.com/talks/gloria_steinem_to_future_generations_of_women_you_are_the_roots_of_change#t-783406

Activist and author Gloria Steinem is an icon of the global feminist movement. She's spent her life defying stereotypes, breaking social barriers, and fighting for equality. In conversation with Pat Mitchell, Steinem reflects on the revolutionary roots of the feminist movement, the fundamental need for intersectionality to combat prejudice, and how she overcame her fears with the support of friends. Now she urges future generations of women to advocate for each other in solidarity—and discover the freedom found in companionship and community.

Huerta, Dolores. (2018). How to Overcome Apathy and Find Your Power. Ted Talk. (13 minutes). https://www.ted.com/talks/dolores_huerta_how_to_overcome_apathy_and_find_your_power

"Sí, se puede!"—"Yes, we can!" It's the rallying cry Dolores Huerta came up with as a young activist in the 1970s, and she's lived by it in her tireless pursuit of civil rights ever since. With her signature wit and humour, Huerta reflects on her life's work, offering inspiration for anybody trying to overcome apathy, get involved, and find their own power.

Heumann, Judith. (2016). Our Fight for Disability Rights—and why we’re not done yet. Ted Talk. (17 minutes). https://www.ted.com/talks/judith_heumann_our_fight_for_disability_rights_and_why_we_re_not_done_yet

Four decades ago, Judith Heumann helped to lead a ground-breaking protest called the Section 504 sit-in—in which disabled-rights activists occupied a federal building for almost a month, demanding greater accessibility for all. In this personal, inspiring talk, Heumann tells the stories behind the protest, and reminds us that, 40 years on, there's still work left to do.

Never Too Old. (2019). CBC documentary. (44 minutes). https://gem.cbc.ca/media/cbc-docs-pov/season-3/episode-4/38e815a-0117cdd0cc7

This documentary follows Olive Bryanton, age 81, who is working hard to get a PhD and help change the world for older women in rural Canada. Bryanton’s journey to her doctorate is only the most recent instalment of her work on seniors’ issues. Her activism started in the 1980s. “I truly believe that anyone can be an activist,” Bryanton says, “and that anyone can further their education.”

Parkland Institute. (2021, April 9). The Raging Grannies sing to celebrate Parkland’s 25th anniversary. YouTube. (5 minutes). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OP40uo0Ieis

The Edmonton Raging Grannies reunited for a special performance to celebrate Parkland Institute’s 25th anniversary. They sing two songs about global warming and social justice.

Yahoo! (2017, January 17) Betty White on her 95th birthday. YouTube. (7 minutes). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxgzgQgOj1A

Television icon Betty White turned 99 in 2021. On her 95th birthday, Global News Anchor Katie Couric caught up with “The Golden Girls” star to talk about her secrets to a long and vibrant life, her storied career, and her positive outlook. White, who has worked in showbiz for more than 80 years, said “The fact that I’m still working. That’s the thing I’m most grateful for — that I still get asked for jobs.”

Health Promotion among Older Indigenous People

(Chapter 15 by Charlotte Loppie and Personal Reflection 3 by Woodrow Morrison)

Relevant Readings

Allan, B. & Smylie, J. (2015). First Peoples, Second Class Treatment: The role of racism in the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Toronto: The Wellesley Institute. https://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Summary-First-Peoples-Second-Class-Treatment-Final.pdf

This paper was prepared for Wellesley of the Well Living House, an action research centre founded to develop and share knowledge and practices that promote the health and well-being of Indigenous infants, children, and their families.

Baron, M., Riva, M., & Fletcher, C. (2019). The social determinants of healthy ageing in the Canadian Arctic. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 78(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/22423982.2019.1630234

This study aims to identify social determinants of health associated with healthy ageing. Using the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (n = 850 Inuit aged ≥50 years), the authors created a holistic indicator including multiple dimensions of health.

Braun, K. L., Browne, C. V., Ka‘opua, L. S., et al. (2014). Research on Indigenous Elders: From Positivistic to Decolonizing Methodologies, The Gerontologist, 54(1), 117–126. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnt067

This study explores various approaches to research with Indigenous elders, drawing examples from Indigenous groups of selected English-speaking countries, including American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians in the United States, First Nations people in Canada, Māori in Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Aboriginal peoples in Australia.

Coombes, J., Lukaszyk, C., Sherrington, C., et al. (2018). First Nation Elders' perspectives on healthy ageing in NSW, Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 42(4), 361–364. https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12796

Healthy aging has been unattainable for many of Australia’s First Nation people, driven by an earlier onset of chronic disease when compared to the general Australian population. This paper’s objective was to examine the perspectives of Australian First Nation people about healthy ageing.

Chang, K., Tsai, W., Tsai, C., et al. (2017). Effects of health education programs for the elders in community care centers – Evaluated by health promotion behaviors. International Journal of Gerontology, 11(2), 109–113. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijge.2017.03.009

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects and satisfaction of the health education programs on health promotion behaviours. The health education programs specifically for elders and middle-aged adults in community care centres were effective in raising the awareness of health promotion behaviours. The success could provide a reference for future studies developing health promotion and education programs and holistic care for community elders and middle-aged adults.

First Nations Health Authority. (2021). Traditional Healing. https://www.fnha.ca/what-we-do/traditional-healing

The Traditional Wellness Mission is to support First Nations in protecting, incorporating, and promoting their traditional medicines and practices. The vision is to improve the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being of First Nations, while strengthening the traditional health care system through a partnership between traditional healer practitioners and the Western medical system.

Gibson, C., Crockett, J., Dudgeon, P., et al. (2018). Sharing and valuing older Aboriginal people’s voices about social and emotional wellbeing services: A strength-based approach for service providers. Aging & Mental Health, 24, 1–8. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13607863.2018.1544220

Although the prevalence of severe physical limitation among Aboriginal people in this study is around three-fold that of non-Aboriginal people, the factors related to it are similar, indicating that Aboriginal people have higher levels of risk factors for and consequences of severe limitations. Effective management of chronic disease and reducing the prevalence of obesity and smoking are important areas for attention.

Gubhaju, L., Banks, E., MacNiven, R., et al. (2015). Physical functional limitations among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal older adults: Associations with socio-demographic factors and health. PloS One, 10(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0139364

This study aimed to quantify associations between severe physical functional limitations and socio-demographic and health-related factors among older Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adults.

Lukaszyk, C., Coombes, J., Turner, N. J., et al. (2018). Yarning about fall prevention: Community consultation to discuss falls and appropriate approaches to fall prevention with older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 77–79.

Older Aboriginal people reported falls to be a priority health issue, with a significant impact on their health and well-being. Few older Aboriginal people accessed prevention programs, suggesting there is an important need for targeted Aboriginal-specific programs. A number of important program elements were identified which, if incorporated into prevention programs, may help to address the rising burden of falls.

Pace, J. E. & Grenier, A. (2017). Expanding the circle of knowledge: Reconceptualizing successful aging among North American older Indigenous Peoples. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 72(2), 248–258. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbw128

Indigenous older peoples’ voices and experiences remain largely absent in the dominant models and critical scholarship on aging and late life. This article examines the relevance of the model of successful aging for Indigenous peoples in North America.

Public Health Agency Canada (2021). What we heard: Indigenous Peoples and COVID-19: Public Health Agency of Canada’s companion report. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/corporate/publications/chief-public-health-officer-reports-state-public-health-canada/from-risk-resilience-equity-approach-covid-19/indigenous-peoples-covid-19-report.html

Intended as a complement to the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada's Annual Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, “From risk to resilience: An equity approach to COVID-19,” this report highlights findings from engagement sessions with Indigenous populations on the challenges they faced in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and what can be learned for the future.

Reading, J., et al. (2011). Healthy aging through fall prevention among older Aboriginal people: From many voices to a shared vision. Victoria, BC: Centre for Aboriginal Health Research, University of Victoria. https://www.uvic.ca/research/centres/circle/assets/docs/Publications/healthyaging-cahr.pdf

This is a report based on a Symposium on Healthy Aging through Fall Prevention among Older Aboriginal People organized by the Centre for Aboriginal Health Research at the University of Victoria.

Tonkin, R., Freeman, S., Martin, J.et al. (2018). First Nations Elders’ perspectives of engagement in community programs in Nak’azdli Whut’en, British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 109(5), 717-725. https://doi.org/10.17269/s41997-018-0125-7

The objective of this study was to describe the types of programs Nak’azdli Elders desire, identify barriers to participation, and improve creation of programs that address Elders’ needs and interests.

Varcoe, C., Bottorff, J. L., Carey, J., et al. (2010). Wisdom and influence of Elders: Possibilities for health promotion and decreasing tobacco exposure in First Nations communities. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 101(2), 154–158. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03404363

This community-based project examined the interpersonal and system influences on smoking practices and exposure to cigarette smoke. The aim was to work with the community using this information to develop meaningful strategies to support tobacco reduction and reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.

Viscogliosi, C., Asselin, H., Basile, S., et al. (2017). A scoping review protocol on social participation of Indigenous Elders, intergenerational solidarity and their influence on individual and community wellness. BMJ Open, 7(5). https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/5/e015931.info

This protocol presents a scoping review on the social participation of indigenous elders, intergenerational solidarity and their influence on individual and community wellness.

Wang, J., Chen, M., Chen, C., et al. (2014). The effectiveness of a community-based health promotion program for rural Elders: A quasi-experimental design. Applied Nursing Research, 27(3), 181–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apnr.2013.11.014

This study examined the effect of a community-based health promotion program (CBHP) on change of lifestyle, physiological indicators, and depression score among seniors in two rural areas.

Wilson, K., Rosenberg, M. W., Abonyi, S. et al. (2010). Aging and health: An examination of differences between older Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Canadian Journal on Aging, 29(3), 369–382. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0714980810000309

This article examines differences in health status and the determinants of health and health care use between the 55-and-older Aboriginal population and non-Aboriginal population.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Canadian Prevention Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse: Indigenous Older Adults


This website provides a knowledge-sharing network for working with Indigenous older adults.

CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH)


The Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH) fosters the advancement of a national health research agenda to improve and promote the health of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada, through research, knowledge translation, and capacity building. The Institute’s pursuit of research excellence is enhanced by respect for community research priorities and Indigenous knowledge, values, and cultures.

Guidelines for Working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Elders


This website provides guidelines for working with First Nations and Métis elders

Supporting Aboriginal Seniors at Home (SASH)


The SASH team supports Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Status, and Non-Status) people aged 55 and older.

Aging in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2+) Communities

(Chapter 16 by Arne Stinchcombe and Kimberley Wilson)

Relevant Readings

Kimberly D. (2017). LGBTQ-Inclusive Hospice and Palliative Care: A Practical Guide to Transforming Professional Practice. Columbia University Press, Harrington Park Press, LLC

This book provides information for all health care professionals (nursing, physicians, spiritual care, social work, etc.) to support and enhance their palliative care practice within the LGBTQ2+ community. Practical information and guidance is offered, along with actionable strategies for care and intervention.

Kinsman, G. and Gentile, P. (2010). The Canadian War on Queers: National Security as Sexual Regulation. UBC Press.

This book traces the historical surveillance of LGBTQ2+ people in Canada under the guise of national security. It provides an excellent account of some of the historical context and life course experiences of many LGBTQ2+ older adults in Canada.

LINKAGES Reading List: Caring for LGBTQ2S+ Elders. (2021). Seniors Health Knowledge Network. https://sagelink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Caring-for-LGBTQ2S-Elders-Reading-Lists-20210520.pdf

Topics include social strengths, health knowledge, cultural awareness, elder abuse and neglect, caregiving outcomes, long-term care needs, experiences of ethnic minorities, mental health care, and dementia complexities of LGBTQ2S+ elders.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Centres for Learning Research and Innovation: A Home for All: 2SLGBTQI+ Resources for Long-Term Care Homes


This resource offers practical and concrete recommendations on how to promote LGBTQ2+ inclusivity within long-term care.

LGBT End-of-Life Conversations


A website dedicated to fostering effective communication, create community and facilitate care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons at the end of life. They aim to raise awareness of the unique challenges that this population faces as they age and approach end-of-life and to provide LGBT persons and their service providers with tools that will empower them to take positive action in regards to end-of-life planning.

Proud, Prepared, and Protected


This is a collection of online resources to assist people who identify as LGBTQ2+ to access and receive inclusive, respectful care. These resources were developed by people who identify as Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ and more than 40 organizations and Canadian Virtual Hospice to fill a national gap. This information is also helpful for allies, communities and people working in healthcare and education.

Rainbow Health Ontario. Health in Focus: LGBT2SQ Seniors


This educational resource was created to highlight the healthcare and social service needs of LGBTQ2+ seniors. This document will help you identify barriers for LGBTQ2+ seniors accessing these services and better understand what you and your work can do to create LGBTQ2+-affirming environments.

SAGE: Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders


SAGE is non-profit organization based in the USA that is committed to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults. Their website offers many resources.

Health Promotion and Immigrant Older Adults

(Chapter 17 by Karen M. Kobayashi and Mushira Mohsin Khan)

Relevant Readings

Employment and Social Development Canada (2018). Social Isolation of Seniors: A Focus on New Immigrant and Refugee Seniors in Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/seniors/forum/social-isolation-immigrant-refugee.html

This report is a supplement to the social isolation and social innovation toolkit created by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers for Seniors Forum. The materials included in this supplement are drawn from current research, stakeholder consultations (including a workshop), an environmental scan of existing programs and services, and experiences of new immigrant and refugee seniors themselves.

Hyman, I. and Guruge, S. (2002). A review of theory and health promotion strategies for new immigrant women. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 93(3), 183–187. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf03404997

This article presents a thorough analysis of the major theoretical models of health promotion, discusses the characteristics of successful health promotion strategies for immigrant women, and highlights the salient barriers to accessing health promotion resources among new immigrant women in Canada.

Khanlou, N. and Gonsalves, T. (2011). An Intersectional Understanding of Youth Cultural Identities and Psychosocial Integration: Why It Matters to Mental Health Promotion in Immigrant-Receiving Pluralistic Societies. In O. Hankivsky (Ed.). Health Inequities in Canada: Intersectional Frameworks and Practices. (pp. 166–179). Vancouver: UBC Press.

The authors examine the challenges of mental health promotion and the psychosocial integration of immigrant and second-generation youth in Canada. Drawing from two community-based mixed-method studies (including qualitative and quantitative methods), they suggest that an intersectional approach, which accounts for life stage, gender, ethnicity, immigrant status, and other identity markers will provide for an in-depth understanding of positions of oppression and privilege for immigrants and their children.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Kids New to Canada


Provides evidence-based information on health promotion for those who care for immigrant and refugee children, youth, and families.

Migration as a Social Determinant of Health


Provides details on the Revisiting Personal is Political: Immigrant Women’s Health Promotion project and discusses migration as a social determinant of health.

Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre


Provides resources to support the mental health needs of Canada’s visible minority population.

Relevant Videos

IFA Global Café. (2021). In Conversation with Kahir Lalji on the Role of Culture and Community in Recognizing Diversity and Fostering Inclusion Among Older Immigrants and Other Underrepresented Populations. Facebook. (1 hour). https://fb.watch/7ilLwNvVDh/

Immigrants provide essential contributions to society and yet they often face disproportionate barriers to accessing social services and supports. For older’ immigrants, multiple factors (e.g., cultural differences, working conditions, health factors, etc.) can affect their ability to actively engage in family and community activities. As the Provincial Director, Government Relations and Population Health of United Way of British Columbia Kahir Lalji’s passion in working with underserved populations has driven his success in supporting community-based programs and services across the province. Given the knowledge specifically of the ever-changing composition of older adult immigrant populations, and their diversity of values, social support systems, and beliefs, the IFA is honored to invite Kahir Lalji to be our Global Café speaker.

Sharing Settlement and Integration Practices that Work. http://p2pcanada.ca/library/category/video/

Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) has been contracted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to design, implement, and evaluate a process for identifying and sharing promising practices in settlement and integration with an empirical basis for their effectiveness. Over a two-year period, P2P will produce 25 videos and accompanying briefs on promising practices in the immigrant settlement and integration sector, targeting a range of service areas and client groups.

Statistics Canada. (2017, October 15). Welcome to Canada: 150 years of immigration. YouTube. (2 minutes). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX02bJ1pyw4

Based on 2016 Census data, this video provides an overview of immigration in Canada over the past 150 years.