Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

We don’t actively support Internet Explorer

It appears that you are using Internet Explorer, which has been discontinued by Microsoft. Support has ended for versions older than 11, and as a result you may face security issues and other problems when using it.

We recommend upgrading to a newer browser such as Firefox, Google Chrome, or Edge for a much better experience across the web.

While this site may work with Explorer, we are not testing and verifying it, so you may run into some trouble or strange looking things.

Lifelong Learning and Adult Education

(Chapter 18 by Arpi Hamalian and Michael Cooke)

Note: please see Health Promotion among Older Indigenous People (Chapter 15) for resources dealing with learning in Indigenous cultures.

Relevant Readings

Beaulieu, M., Breton, M., & Brousselle, A. (2018). Conceptualizing 20 years of engaged scholarship: A scoping review. PLoS ONE, 13(2), e0193201. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193201

Based on a scoping review of the literature over the past 20 years, this article proposes a conceptualization of engaged scholarship; defines its values, principles, and processes; and discusses the implications of this new posture for faculty, students, and the university as an institution.

Brigham, S. M., McGray, R., & Jubas, K. (Eds.). (2021). Adult education and lifelong learning in Canada: Advancing a critical legacy. Toronto: Thompson.

This book is the latest in a series sponsored by the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE). It highlights and advances the critical traditions within adult education in Canada.

Cosejo, D. (2018, May 24). Nursing education—An application of andragogy of learning. RNSpeak. http://www.rnspeak.com/Nursing-education-an-application-of-andragogy-of-learning/

This article considers how Malcolm Knowles’ theory of adult learning—andragogy—can be applied in nursing education.

Costello, M. C. & Bloesch, E. K. (2017). Are Older Adults Less Embodied? A Review of Age Effects through the Lens of Embodied Cognition. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(267). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00267

This paper reviews age-related changes in sensory processing, mental representation, and the action-perception relationship, exploring how each can be understood through the lens of embodied cognition.

Cranton, P. (2016). Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning: A Guide to Theory and Practice (3rd ed.). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

This book helps adult educators understand what transformative learning is, distinguish it from other forms of learning, and foster it in their practice.

Dekkers W. (2020). The aging body as lived history: A phenomenological perspective. In: Schweda M., Coors M., & Bozzaro C. (Eds), Aging and Human Nature: International Perspectives on Aging, Volume 25, 66–74. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-25097-3_5

This chapter discusses first-person experiences of the aging body, the relationship between the experience of pain, disability, and old age, and third-person experiences of the aging body, especially as it appears to others as “lived history.”

Elfert, M. (2019). Lifelong learning in Sustainable Development Goal 4: What does it mean for UNESCO’s rights-based approach to adult learning and education? International Review of Education, 65, 537–556. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11159-019-09788-z

This article, which draws on a review of primary and secondary literature, examines the role of a human rights-based approach to adult learning and education (ALE) in the context of the global Education 2030 agenda, which is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched in 2015 by the United Nations.

European Association for the Education of Adults. (2012). Older Learners—Learning Later in Life. https://eaea.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2012_eaea_policy-paper_active-ageing.pdf

This short paper considers the importance of high-quality learning opportunities for older adults and offers several recommendations on how to create an effective and efficient adult education service for older people.

Grace, A. P. (2014). A periodization of North American and adult education (1919–1970): A critical sociological analysis of trends and perspectives. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 33(2), 183–206. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2013.831955

This article provides a critical sociological analysis of trends and perspectives pervasive during the emergence of North American adult education (1919–1970). The article reflects on the perennial difficulty of answering the question “What is adult education?”

Greenwood, M., & de Leeuw, S. (2007). Teachings from the land: Indigenous people, our health, our land, and our children. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 30(1): 48–53, 189.

This article discusses the interconnectivity of Indigenous people, their cultures, and ways of life with the land and the idea that the health and well-being of Indigenous children, their communities, and ultimately their Nations arise from their connection with the land and from a strength of culture that grows from this connectivity.

Halbert, J. & Kaser, L. (2015). Learning to be: A perspective from British Columbia, Canada. European Journal of Education, 50(2), 196–213. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12125

This article describes how learning to be, with a specific focus on social‐emotional competencies, has become part of the educational mindset—and educational policy—in British Columbia.

Lange, E. (2015). (Re)igniting a sociological imagination in adult education: The continuing relevance of classical theory.International Journal of Lifelong Education, 34(5), 491–513. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2015.1028574

This article contextualizes classical theories of sociology within contemporary critiques, reviews the historical roots of sociology and then briefly introduces the classical theories illustrating the continual presence of sociological thinking in the adult education field. It periodizes the lineage of the sociology of adult education, highlighting recent contributions.

Lewis, J. E., Arista, N., Pechawis, A., et al. (2018). Making kin with the machines. Journal of Design and Science. https://doi.org/10.21428/bfafd97b

This paper uses Indigenous epistemologies to discuss the “AI question,” in hopes to open new lines of discussion that can escape the box.

Lindsay-Smith, G. (2019). Active ageing in the community: Exploring the role of community activity groups for older adults for physical activity, health and wellbeing. https://vuir.vu.edu.au/40057/1/LINDSAY%20SMITH%20Gabrielle-thesis_nosignature.pdf

This body of research suggests that community activity programs for older adults offer a variety of benefits for older adults and thereby promote Active Ageing, especially when a variety of types of activity are offered in one setting, with a social focus and in a way that older adults feel they can relate to.

Manolis, C., Burns, D. J., Assudani, R., & Chinta, R. (2013). Assessing experiential learning styles: A methodological reconstruction and validation of the Kolb Learning Style Inventory. Learning and Individual Differences, 23, 44–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2012.10.009

This study transforms the LSI (learning style inventory) from a type (categorical measure) to a degree (continuous measure) of learning style measure that is not only more parsimonious but is also easier to use than the existing LSI.

Mcneill, J. (2020). On meaning and mattering: Engaged scholarship.* Inside Higher Ed.* https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/meaning-and-mattering-engaged-scholarship An article discussing using engagement to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Meisner, B. A. (2020). Are You OK, Boomer? Intensification of Ageism and Intergenerational Tensions on Social Media Amid COVID-19. Leisure Sciences, 43, 56–61. https://doi.org/10.1080/01490400.2020.1773983

This commentary draws on social media trending topics (e.g., “OK, Boomer,” “Boomer Remover”) to demonstrate how generalizations regarding chronological age and COVID-19 age-related biomedical risks have: (a) exacerbated ageism on social media, and (b) further exposed ongoing tensions between so-called “Millennial” and “Baby Boomer” generations in ways that are targeted against the older generation and serve in favor of younger ones.

Merz Nordstrom, N. (2010) Lifelong Learning—Encourage Elders to Exercise Mind, Body, and Spirit Med Aging Well 3(2):27. https://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/050310p27.shtml

This provides an overview of lifelong learning goals in older adults.

Mestheneos, E. & Withnall, A. (2016). Ageing, learning and health: Making connections. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 35(5), 522–536. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2016.1224039

The health of ageing populations is a real concern across the world so that the concept of active ageing has been advocated as a framework for appropriate educational policies and programmes to support people as they grow older.

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative decisions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

This book describes the dynamics of how adults learn—and how their perceptions are transformed by learning—as a framework for formulating educational theory and practice. It presents an in-depth analysis of the ways in which adults learn, how they make meaning of the learning experience, and how their lives can be transformed by it.

Mezirow, J. & Associates (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

This volume continues the landmark work begun by Jack Mezirow over twenty years ago—revealing the impact of transformative learning on the theory and practice of adult education.

Rocco, T. S., Smith, M. C., Mizzi, R. C., et al. (Eds) (2020). The Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education. Stylus Publishing.

This book provides rich information on the contemporary issues and trends that are of concern to adult and continuing education, of the programs and resources available to adult learners, and of opportunities to challenge and critique the structures embedded in the field that perpetuate inequity and social injustice.

Sabeti, S. (2015). Creative ageing? Selfhood, temporality and the older adult learner. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 34(2), 211–229. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2014.987710

This paper is based on a long-term ethnography of an adult creative writing class situated in a major urban art gallery in the United Kingdom. It takes the claims of one group of older adults—that creative writing made them “feel younger”—as the starting point for exploring this connection further. It places these claims broadly within theories of learning in later life that advocate creative expression and reminiscence as important practices for educators of older adults.

Schuller, T. & Watson, D. (2015). “The Treasure Within” and “Learning Through Life”: A Review and Prospectus. European Journal of Education, 50(2), 214–224. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12123

Comparing two reports, this paper reflects on rationales and developments to offer a prospectus for lifelong learning that has general application, not only in the UK.

Seta, L., Kukulska-Hulme, A., & Arrigo, M. (2014). What have we learnt about mobile Lifelong Learning? International Journal of Lifelong Education, 33(2), 161–182. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2013.831954

The paper discusses how mobile lifelong learning may be defined and the challenges of forging a suitable definition in an ever-shifting technological and socio-economic landscape.

Smith, M. K. (2002). Malcolm Knowles, informal adult education, self-direction, and andragogy. The encyclopedia of informal education. https://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-knowl.htm.

A review of the life, achievements, and contributions of Malcolm S. Knowles, a very influential figure in the adult education field.

Stroh, L. & Brees, K. (2018). Getting Real about Getting Older: Conversations about Aging. Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc.

Linda K. Stroh and Karen K. Brees asked nearly one thousand older people about the challenges and joys of growing older and compiled their collective wisdom into this must-have book.

Vitelli, R. (2012). Can lifelong learning help as we age? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/media-spotlight/201210/can-lifelong-learning-help-we-age

This article discusses university programs designed for older adults to help prevent cognitive decline.

Whittle, S. R. & Murdoch-Eaton, D. G. (2004). Lifelong learning skills: How experienced are students when they enter medical school? Medical Teacher, 26(6), 576–578. https://doi.org/10.1080/01421590410001711544

Widening participation initiatives together with changes in school curricula in England may broaden the range of lifelong learning skills experience of new undergraduates. This project examines the experience levels of current students, as a comparative baseline.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT)


ACT, at Concordia University, 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. Research is undertaken within three interrelated areas: Agency in Ageing: Collaborative Creativity and the Digital Arts in Later Life; Critical Mediations: Everyday Life and Cultures of Ageing; and Telecommunication Technologies: Ageing in Networked Societies. One project—A Year of Aging—creatively and critically examines the media coverage of older adults and issues related to aging in Quebec’s mainstream media during the year 2017.



Includes Lifelong Learning: A Tool For All Ages: Age Platform’s statement for the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All.

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)


UIL, which holds a global mandate for lifelong learning, promotes and supports lifelong learning with a focus on adult learning, continuing education, literacy, and non-formal basic education. Its activities place particular emphasis on furthering educational equity for disadvantaged groups and in the countries most afflicted by poverty and conflict.

Relevant Videos

CBC. (2019, August). Never Too Old. YouTube. (44 minutes). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niYcfUulOAw

A CBC documentary follows Olive Bryanton, age 81, through her PhD studies, in which she is researching ten women over the age of 85 who live in rural areas of the province—“pioneers in aging,” as she calls them, since they’re living past Canada’s life expectancy.

Health Literacy and Older Adults

(Chapter 19 by Lorie Donelle and Irving Rootman)

Relevant Readings

Abel, T., & McQueen, D. (2020). Critical health literacy and the COVID-19 crisis. Health Promotion International, 35(6), 1612–1613. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daaa040

COVID-19 has brought many basic challenges that people have to address including too much information. A major challenge is how can individuals integrate this sea of information into personal behavioural actions. The authors suggest that critical health literacy is needed in light of such basic challenges.

Chong, Y. Y., Cheng, H. Y., Chan, H. Y. L., Chien, W. T., & Wong, S. Y. S. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic, infodemic and the role of eHealth literacy. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 108, 103644. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2020.103644

The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by an “infodemic,” a term that has been used to refer to the rapid spread of misinformation or fake news through social media platforms and other outlets. The authors suggest that “the provision of accurate and quality information is likely to be insufficient to ensure optimal public health outcomes if the influence of eHealth literacy is not accounted for.”

Crawford, A., & Serhal, E. (2020). Digital health equity and COVID-19: The innovation curve cannot reinforce the social gradient of health. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(6), e19361. https://doi.org/10.2196/19361

The authors suggest that along with person-centered care, digital health equity should be incorporated into health provider training and should be championed at the individual, institutional, and social levels. Important future directions will be to develop measurement-based approaches to digital health equity and to use these findings to further validate and refine this model.

Donelle, L., Hall, J., Hiebert, B., Jackson, K., Stoyanovich, E., LaChance, J., & Facca, D. (2021). Investigation of digital technology use in the transition to parenting: Qualitative study. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting, 4(1), e25388. https://doi.org/10.2196/25388

The purpose of this study was to enhance our understanding of the ways digital technologies contribute to the experience of the transition to parenting, particularly the role these technologies play in organizing and structuring emerging pregnancy and early parenting practices.

Fuchs, C. (2009). The role of income inequality in a multivariate cross-national analysis of the digital divide. Social Science Computer Review, 27(1), 41–58. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439308321628

This study explores the role of income equality as well as other factors as an element that influences the digital divide. The results question reductionistic digital divide approaches that analyze information inequality via focusing on a single variable (such as technology or markets). The author concludes that “access to ICTs is shaped by the interaction of socioeconomic, political, cultural, social, and technological factors.”

Halon, E. (2020, April 30). Digital literacy, resilience to be key in the post-coronavirus world. Jerusalem Post. https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/digital-literacy-resilience-to-be-key-in-the-post-coronavirus-world-626455

This article quotes Sigal Shelach, director-general of Joint Distribution Committee in Israel in relation to “Digital Literacy.” She says that every citizen must learn to “cope with the world that is now digital.” She also expressed the opinion that the retraining of older workers with decades of experience will be critical to enable the market to bounce back and continue to grow, and emphasized the need to close digital gaps.

Hoffman-Goetz, L., Donelle, L. & Ahmed, R. (2014). Health Literacy in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

This book presents a comprehensive overview of health literacy from a Canadian perspective, but also contains examples from other countries. It discusses topics relevant to health promotion such as determinants of health, social justice, and health equity as they relate to health literacy.

IUHPE Global Working Group on Health Literacy. (2018). IUHPE Position statement on health literacy: A practical vision for a health literate world. International Union for Health Promotion and Education. https://www.iuhpe.org/images/IUHPE/Advocacy/IUHPEHealth_Literacy_2018.pdf

This position statement developed by the IUHPE Working Group on Health Literacy covers the following four main action areas: policy, intervention, measurement and research, and building capacity.

Linkages Reading List: Health Literacy and Older Adults. (2019). https://sagelink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Health-Literacy-and-Older-Adults.pdf

Reading list of 36 articles and reports on health literacy and older adults, last reviewed December 2019.

Nutbeam, D., & Lloyd, J. E. (2021). Understanding and responding to health literacy as a social determinant of health. Annual Review of Public Health, 42(1), 159–173. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-090419-102529

The authors suggest that “future health literacy intervention research should focus on (a) improving the quality of health communication that reaches a diversity of populations, especially by improving frontline professional skills and support; (b) enabling people to develop transferable skills in accessing, understanding, analyzing, and applying health information; and (c) ensuring that priority is proportionate to need by reaching and engaging the population groups who are disproportionately affected by low health literacy.”

Orkan, O., Bauer, U., Levin-Zamir, D., et al. (2019). International Handbook of Health Literacy. Great Britain: Policy Press.

This publication covers research, practice, and policy across the lifespan from many countries around the world.

Onyeaka, H. K., Zambrano, J., Longley, R. M., et al. (2021). Use of Digital Health Tools for Health Promotion in Cancer Survivors. Psycho-oncology. https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.5677

This paper presents the findings of a study to investigate the acceptability and impact of digital health tools for health promotion in cancer survivors.

Rauschenberg, C., Schick, A., Hirjak, D., Seidler, A., Paetzold, I., Apfelbacher, C., Riedel-Heller, S. G., & Reininghaus, U. (2021). Evidence synthesis of digital interventions to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public mental health: Rapid meta-review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(3), e23365. https://doi.org/10.2196/23365

There is evidence that digital interventions are particularly suited to mitigating psychosocial consequences at the population level. In times of physical distancing, quarantine, and restrictions on social contacts, decision makers should develop digital strategies for continued mental health care and invest time and efforts in the development and implementation of mental health promotion and prevention programs.

Ronson McNichol, B., & Rootman, I. (2016). Chapter 12: Literacy and health literacy: new understandings about their impact on health. In D. Raphael (Ed.), Social Determinants of Health (3rd ed.) (pp. 261–290). Toronto: Canadian Scholars.

This chapter in Social Determinants of Health includes material on literacy and health in the context of Indigenous culture drawing on Barbara Ronson McNichol’s work on Indigenous Health as well as her experience living in an Indigenous community for the last few years of her life.

van Deursen, A. J. A. M., van der Zeeuw, A., de Boer, P., Jansen, G., & van Rompay, T. (2021). Digital inequalities in the Internet of Things: Differences in attitudes, material access, skills, and usage. Information, Communication & Society, 24(2), 258–276. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2019.1646777

This is a study of “The Internet of Things” (IoT). According to the authors, the results suggested that to make the IoT attractive for larger parts of the population, clear terms of use and user-friendly IoT should be an important objective. Stimulating positive attitudes towards IoT will increase the likelihood of IoT ownership, development of IoT skills, and, eventually, a wider diversity of IoT use. They also suggest that policies should aim to stress the potential outcomes IoT has to offer and should promote transparency and disclosure of how personal data is used as well as better privacy, security practices, and regulation.

World Health Organization. (2019). Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/documents/gs4dhdaa2a9f352b0445bafbc79ca799dce4d.pdf

The global strategy on digital health builds on resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and the World Health Assembly.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Canadian Health Literacy and Patient Education Network (CHLPEN)


The Canadian Health Literacy and Patient Education Network is a listserv that discusses issues related to health literacy especially issues associated with patient education.

Canadian Public Health Association


This site offers resources related to diverse aspects of health literacy.

Innovative Policies for Healthy Aging (IROHLA)


IROHLA aimed to develop evidence-based guidelines to improve health equity in the ageing population. The home page presents several links to policy papers on health literacy and its link to healthy aging.

World Health Organization (WHO)


WHO is engaged in diverse initiatives to explore and advocate for local, national, and international attention to health and digital health literacy(s)

Innovative Program

Digital Learning Pilot Program


In Partnership with the United Way of B.C., HelpAge Canada supports a Digital Learning Program for Older Adults with low incomes. Among other things, HelpAge co-facilitates Digital Learning communities of practice—regular gatherings of organizations to discuss technology and how to help older persons develop digital skills, knowledge, and confidence.

Mental Health, Cognitive Resilience, and Vitality in Later Life

(Chapter 20 by Kiran Rabheru, Keri-Leigh Cassidy, Beverley Cassidy, and David Conn)

Relevant Readings

Lyubomirsky, S. (2008).The how of happiness. London: Penguin Publishing Group.

A comprehensive guide to understanding the elements of happiness based on years of ground-breaking scientific research.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2013). The myths of happiness. New York: Penguin.

Sonja Lyubomirsky isolates the major turning points of adult life, looking to both successes (marriage, children, wealth) and challenges (divorce, financial ruin, illness) to reveal that our misconceptions about the impact of such events is perhaps the greatest threat to our long-term well-being.

Relevant Website

Alain de Boton


Website for author Alain de Boton, writer of essayistic books that have been described as a “philosophy of everyday life.”

Relevant Video

Dr. Laurie Santos: The Science of Well-being. https://www.coursera.org/lecture/the-science-of-well-being/why-this-course-exists-BG5gB

Introduction to “The Science of Well-Being” course offered on Coursera about increasing happiness and building more productive habits.

Healthy Aging and the Arts

(Chapter 21 by Alison Phinney, Claire Gram, jil p. weaving, and Elaine Moody)

Relevant Readings

Cousins, E., Tischler, V., Garabedian, C., & Dening, T. (2019). Principles and features to define and describe arts interventions for people with dementia: A qualitative realist study. Arts & Health, 11(3), 202–218.

This research uncovers the principles underpinning how and why person-centered arts interventions work for people with dementia.

Daykin, N., Gray, K., McCree, M., & Willis, J. (2017). Creative and credible evaluation for arts, health and well-being: Opportunities and challenges of co-production. Arts & Health, 9(2), 123–138.

This research addresses the challenging question of how to best evaluate arts and health initiatives.

Fancourt, D. & Finn, S. (2019). What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and wellbeing? A scoping review. Health Evidence Network synthesis report 67. Copenhagen: World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe.

This far-reaching review synthesizes evidence from over 3000 studies conducted around the world (with an emphasis on Europe). Results include (but are not limited to) discussion of the benefit of arts for health promotion across the life span.

Fraser, K. D., O’Rourke, H. M., Wiens, H., et al. (2015). A scoping review of research on the arts, aging, and quality of life. The Gerontologist, 55(4), 719–729.

This study offers a critical evaluation of the state of research on arts, health, and aging. It is based on a review of 94 studies (most published between 2000–2012) examining the impact of arts on quality of life and health of older adults.

Majeski, R. A., & Stover, M. (2019). The expressive arts and resilience in aging. Educational Gerontology, 45(3), 161–166.

This is a conceptual analysis seeking to explain how creative expression might contribute to resilience in aging.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Age Exchange


This organization offers community services for older people in the UK, including reminiscence-based intergenerational arts projects. The website has a gallery that includes details of the many projects that have been carried out over the last 30 years.

Age & Opportunity Arts


This is a national development organization that builds on the arts to improve quality of life of older people across Ireland. They offer a range of resource and development opportunities throughout the year, including the annual Bealtaine Festival held every May as a national celebration of arts in aging.

Arts for the Aging


This is a well-established program in the US (located in the Greater Washington DC area). The model is one of participatory multidisciplinary artist-led experiences with older adults and their care providers that are offered across the community, including residential care. The website provides detailed information and other valuable resources.

Arts and Aging Toolkit: Edmonton Edition


This toolkit is the work of the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council in Alberta. It offers comprehensive information to support the development of professionally run community arts programs for health promotion of older adults.

Arts and Health: Healthy Aging Through the Arts


This is “a working collaboration of seniors, Elders, and professional artists” in the great Vancouver region. The website serves as a link to current and past projects and provides numerous resources including practice guides and evaluation tools.

BC Brain Wellness Program


This joint initiative of the UBC Faculty of Medicine and Vancouver Coastal Health offers arts programming not only to improve quality of life for people living with brain disorders, but also to provide “healthy agers the opportunity to enhance their wellness and engage in preventative lifestyle measures.”

Creative Age: London


Creative Age is a social enterprise in Southwestern Ontario whose goal is to “work with community leaders, institutions and organizations to secure resources, develop, produce and deliver creative programs, events and activities to engage older adults and intergenerational groups.”

Creative Aging Calgary


The Creative Aging Calgary Society was established in 2009 to “heighten awareness of the benefits of professionally conducted participatory arts and aging programs.” Their website offers a comprehensive list of resources, including toolkits, an organizational directory, and reading lists.

Donald and Elaine Rafelman Creative Arts Studio


The Department of Culture and Arts at Baycrest in Toronto is dedicated to supporting the “creative potential of patients and residents to improve their physical and emotional health.” The Creative Arts Studio offers a variety of arts programs that are adapted to meet the individual needs of older people with a range of abilities and interests.

Music Alive: An Online Library of Music Activities for Seniors During COVID-19 and Beyond


This easy-to-use website contains an online library of music activities for seniors that shows all of the webinars that have been done since May 2020.

National Organization for Arts in Health


This is an American network whose stated mission is to “unite, advance, and serve the field of arts in health.” NOAH offers a range of educational resources and events, including an annual conference.

Time Slips


This is an international network of artists and care providers that aims to “bring meaning and purpose into the lives of elders through creative engagement.” There is a growing evidence base for the Time Slips approach that draws on storytelling and theatre arts to support health and well-being for older people who are socially isolated and/or living with dementia. The website is a rich repository of information and resources.

Relevant Videos

CBC. (2017). Dancing with Parkinson’s. (10 minutes). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5utV1ERgbs8

New research suggests that dancing improves movement control for people with Parkinson's disease. This CBC News video explores this with members of a Parkinson’s dance program, their teacher and the researchers following the program.

Healthy Eating and Older Adults

(Chapter 22 by Doris Gillis and Laura Gougeon)

Relevant Readings

Banerjee, S. & Loshak, H. (2019). Congregate meal programs for older adults living in the community: A review of clinical effectiveness. CADTH Rapid Response Report: Summary with Critical Appraisal. Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, Ottawa, ON. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541210/

Although many factors likely contribute to the success of congregate meal programs, well-designed studies are needed to assess their effectiveness for community-dwelling seniors, including quality of life, social and mental health, independence, and impact on healthcare utilization.

Bernstein, M. & Munoz, N. (2019). Nutrition for the Older Adult (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

This book provides information relevant to nutrition and healthy aging. It is intended for students in the fields of nutrition, nursing, public health, and gerontology, and is also a useful resource for practitioners in clinical and community settings.

Earle, L. (2013). Traditional Aboriginal Diets and Health. National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. Public Health Agency of Canada. https://www.ccnsa-nccah.ca/docs/emerging/FS-TraditionalDietsHealth-Earle-EN.pdf

This resource emphasizes the importance of understanding the transition in Indigenous communities from traditional food consumption to patterns of consumption that increase the risk of developing chronic disease.

Laur, C. & Keller, H. (2017). Making the case for nutrition screening in older adults in primary care. Nutrition Today, 52(3):129–136.

This article discusses why nutrition screening in primary care is recommended for prefrail and/or frail older adults to optimize identification of concerns and benefits of treatment.

Linkages Reading List: Nutrition and Oral Health. (2021). https://sagelink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Nutrition-Oral-Health-Reading-Lists-20210224.pdf

Topics include appetite, malnutrition, supplementation, assessment, undernutrition, eating disorders, anorexia of aging, high risk populations, weight loss, and more. Last reviewed February 2021.

Men, F. & Tarasuk, V. (2020). Severe food insecurity associated with mortality among lower-income Canadian adults approaching eligibility for public pensions: A population cohort study. BMC Public Health, 20:1484. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09547-y

This article provides evidence that severely food-insecure adults approaching retirement age were more likely to die before collecting their public pensions and calls for action by policymakers.

Naja, F. & Hamadeh, R. (2020). Nutrition amid the COVID-19 pandemic: A multi-level framework for action. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 74:1117–1121. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-020-0634-3

This article presents a multi-level framework to support nutrition and food security during the COVID-19 pandemic, using individual, community, national, and global levels of the ecological health model. It includes recommendations to mitigate impact.

Tarasuk V. & Mitchell A. (2020). Household food insecurity in Canada, 2017–18. Food Insecurity Policy Research. https://proof.utoronto.ca/resources/proof-annual-reports/household-food-insecurity-in-canada-2017-2018/

This report portrays food insecurity as a serious and worsening public health problem in Canada. It draws on data for 103,500 households from the Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey conducted in 2017 and 2018.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Agri-food for Healthy Aging (A-HA)


Using collaborative research and knowledge mobilization, this program aims to improve the health and well-being of older adults through the innovative use of food.

British Columbia Ministry of Health


The Healthy Eating for Seniors Handbook includes recipes, menu plans, and information on nutrition. The handbook is available in English and French and has been culturally adapted and translated into Chinese and Punjabi.

Canada’s Food Guide: Canada’s Dietary Guidelines (Health Canada)


Canada’s Dietary Guidelines set out Health Canada’s guidelines and considerations on healthy eating that are relevant and applicable to the Canadian context.

Canada’s Food Guide: Healthy Eating for Seniors (Health Canada)


Discusses why healthy eating is important for older adults and provides practical advice based on Canada’s Food Guide.

Canadian Nutrition Society


The Canadian Malnutrition Task Force is a group of clinicians, decision makers and investigators forming a standing committee of the Canadian Nutrition Society to advance nutrition care in patients through research, education, and interdisciplinary collaboration in Canada.

Dietitians of Canada


A wealth of resources about nutrition including information for older adults, household food insecurity, and healthy eating for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.

Food Secure Canada


This pan-Canadian alliance of organizations and individuals work together to advance food security and food sovereignty through three interlocking goals: zero hunger, healthy and safe food, and sustainable food systems.

Health Canada


Health Canada develops and implements evidence-based policy that defines healthy eating, promotes environments that support Canadians in making healthy food choices, and is recognized as an authoritative source of nutrition information.



The Healthy Eating for Seniors community presentations program is intended to support healthy eating for seniors in the community. It includes a Facilitator’s Guide to support the delivery of the presentations.

Healthy Aging CORE—Food & Nutritional Support


CORE (Collaborative Online Resources and Education) is a knowledge hub for Community Based Seniors’ Services organizations, allied agencies, and individuals in British Columbia. This website provides links to relevant resources on food and nutritional support.

Nutrition Connections Canada (Ontario Public Health Association)


This centre for nutrition services and resources, education, training, and collaboration supports access to better nutrition by advocating for food security, sustainable food environments, food literacy, and healthy eating guidelines and policies.

Ontario Dietitians in Public Health


This website provides information on what food literacy means, along with resources to advance food literacy of the public.

Unlockfood, Dietitians of Canada


This webpage provides information for older adults on eating well with practical tips on grocery shopping, keeping a healthy weight, and managing health conditions.

Relevant Videos

Hua Foundation. Cultural Cooking Workshops. https://huafoundation.org/portfolio/cooking-workshops/

Their Cultural Cooking Workshops center on skill building, conversation, and healthy food systems in communities and reinforce the importance of intergenerational learning, culture, and food.

McMaster Health Forum. (2015, January). What We Eat: Nutrition as the Foundation to Healthy Aging. (1 hour and 27 minutes). https://www.mcmasterforum.org/find-evidence/products/project/nutrition-as-foundation-to-healthy-aging

Dr. Heather Keller, Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition and Aging, University of Waterloo, and Research Scientist with Agri-food for Healthy Aging, Schlegel-UW RIA, discusses why nutrition is foundational to health, its impact on aging, and how Canadians are doing with respect to healthy eating.

Pasta Grannies. (2019, May 17). Pasta Grannies meet 100 year old Letizia—our oldest pasta granny yet! (7 minutes). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAf3SeP1Ucg&pbjreload=101

Letizia, a 100-year-old woman living in Sicily, demonstrates how to make tagliarini pasta with dried fava bean puree flavoured with onion and wild fennel.

Physical Activity and Older Adults

(Chapter 23 by Christa Costas-Bradstreet and John C. Spence)

Relevant Readings

Durable by Design (Active for Life). (2016). Sport for Life. https://sportforlife.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Durable-by-Design_Dec2_2016-.pdf

A document on physical literacy for adults and information on benefits and methods for achieving physical literacy and a “fit for life” life

Canadian Women and Sport. (2007). Focus Group Report: Physical Activity and Women 55–70. https://womenandsport.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2007-FocusGroupReportWomen55-70_Rebrand.pdf

Given the lower levels of physical activity for older women in Canada, Canadian Women and Sport undertook a three-year project (2005 to 2008) focused on increasing physical activity opportunities for women 55–70. The project focused on and uncovered a number of internal and external barriers impacting women’s ability to be active.

Linkages Reading List: Active Aging. (2019). https://sagelink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Active-Aging.pdf

Topics include physical activity, exercise and cognition, rehabilitation, healthy aging, frailty, health behaviours, social participation, and engagement. Last reviewed December 2019.

Linkages Reading List: Exercise and Rehabilitation with Older Adults. (2019). https://sagelink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Exercise-Rehabilitation-with-Older-Adults.pdf

Topics include physical activity, mobility, fall prevention, prescribing exercise, and tailored training for dementia, stroke, frailty, and more. Last reviewed December 2019.

ParticipACTION. (2019). Better With Age: 2019 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Adults. https://www.participaction.com/en-ca/resources/adult-report-card

Report on current physical activity levels among Canadian adults and recommendations to improve health through exercise/activity.

Taylor, D. (2014). Physical Activity is medicine for older adults. Postgrad Medical Journal, 90: 26–32. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/postgradmedj-2012-131366

A detailed look into the importance exercise has on the health of older adults.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Active Aging Canada


Active Aging Canada, in partnership with its members, encourages Canadian adults and older adults to maintain and enhance their well-being and independence through a lifestyle that embraces physical activity and an active living philosophy with the end goal of healthy active aging.

Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity


Informed by a 40-year history of committed leadership and impact, this group partners with sport organizations, governments, and leaders to build better sport through gender equity. They’re experts on systemic change and strive to build a stronger, more equitable sport system for girls and women and for all Canadians.

Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA)


CPRA is a national organization dedicated to realizing the full potential of parks and recreation as a major contributor to community health and vibrancy. Membership includes the 13 provincial and territorial parks and recreation associations and their extensive networks of service providers in over 90% of Canadian communities. CPRA offers resources, webinars, tools, and professional development opportunities.

Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA)


CCAA is a research and education centre within the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western University. It promotes physical activity and well-being for older adults through a combination of basic and applied research, education, and community-based exercise programs. Its education and leadership training programs instruct thousands of individuals across Canada in standard, evidence-based practices to enhance the functional fitness of older adults at every level of mobility.

8-80 Cities


8 80 Cities improves the quality of life for people in cities by bringing citizens together to enhance mobility and public space so that together we can create more vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities.

Examples of Educational Resources, Programs, and Campaigns

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology)


Quick access document for promoting physical activity in adults 65 years and older.

Physical Activity Toolkit for Older Adults (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)


The Physical Activity Toolkit for Older Adults includes physical activity guidelines, a walking program, a movement log, articles on the role physical activity plays in prevention and management of chronic disease, plus lots of useful resources to help older adults get moving.

The Rural Route to Active Aging: A Guide for People Who Want to Stay Active as They Age (Centre for Active Living)


This guide is for adults living in rural areas who are considering being active or who want to stay active as they age. If you know that you need to move more and sit less, this guide is for you.

This Girl Can (Sport England)


This Girl Can seeks to tell the real stories of women who get active or play sport in the way that’s right for them using images that show what activity really looks like in all its sweaty, red-faced, jiggly glory. (See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iISKDZvjaSs and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toH4GcPQXpc)



As Canada’s premier physical activity brand, ParticipACTION helps Canadians sit less and move more through innovative engagement initiatives and thought leadership.

Physical activity tips for older adults, Government of Canada


Tips for getting active in PDF and Infographic formats.

Examples of Initiatives That Address Social Support

Bike Red Bike (Banff Mineral Springs Hospital (MSH)


This WellSpring introduces a unique community bike program called the Big Red Ride, which enables frail older adults to get out and be active outdoors. This program is a collaboration between three community organizations and the use of a four-person, fully adaptive e-bike imported from Holland.

Choose to Move (BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA)-affiliated recreation centres and YMCA


Choose to Move combines a person-centred approach with opportunities for older adults to connect.

Mall Walking: A Program Resource Guide (Centres for Disease Control)


The goal of Mall Walking: A Program Resource Guide is to encourage the development of mall walking programs by providing readers with information about the health benefits of walking, explaining why mall walking programs can help people walk more, and providing practical strategies for starting and maintaining walking programs in malls or other venues in areas where a mall is not available.

Walk with your Doc (Doctors of BC’s Council on Health Promotion)


Since 2010, Walk With Your Doc has helped physicians and patients build healthier relationships. By hosting or attending a Walk WithYour Doc, you are “walking the talk” about the benefits of daily activity while demonstrating to your patients that you care about their wellbeing.

Disability in Later Life

(Personal Reflection 4 by Mark Nagler)

Relevant Readings

Linkages Reading List: Disability in Later Life. (2020). https://sagelink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Disability-in-Later-Life.pdf

Topics include aging with disability, frailty, home modifications, environmental considerations, intersectional considerations, discrimination, caregiver issues, and more. Last reviewed March 2020.

Relevant Websites and Organizations

Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)


CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada. CCD unites organizations of people with disabilities to defend and extend human rights for persons with disabilities through public education, advocacy, intervention in litigation, research, consultation, and partnerships.

Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities (OPADD)


OPADD is a ground-breaking informal partnership of service providers in the continuum of seniors’ services and developmental disabilities, and active in the areas of cross-sector planning, applied research, caregiver education, innovation in service delivery, and policy development. OPADD is dedicated to ensuring quality of life for older adults with developmental disabilities through transition planning that includes equal access to seniors’ community and residential programs.

Statistics Canada: Accessibility and disability infographics


These infographics provide quick and attractive overviews to help you understand key information derived from statistical programs related to disability and accessibility.