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Stay connected, informed and engaged: A resource guide for older adults


Published October 1, 2020 | By Allison Ward, Summer Shepherd and Kara Aaserud

October 1, 2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP), the United Nations’ way of acknowledging the contributions, needs, challenges and rights of our aging population. Over the last six months, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly and severely impacted the lives of many older adults worldwide. This year’s theme, Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?, aims to raise awareness of the specific needs of older adults during a pandemic.

Through evidence-based research and multiple resources and platforms that offer opportunities for older adults to connect and stay engaged despite physical distancing measures, McMaster University is also addressing the needs of older adults. The McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) has compiled the following ways to stay engaged in uncertain times:

Take an online course 

Caregiving Essentials

Cost: Free
Taking care of a loved one or family member is an important and time-consuming task that people have historically received no training in. The McMaster Centre for Continuing Education (CCE), MIRA and THRIVE group developed this eight-week course to increase caregiver skills and knowledge of health care issues for older adults; improve ​navigation to health and community care systems; and improve their personal health and well, being, including self-efficacy. Now running in partnership with Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario (RGPO), CCE is pleased to ​this course that will open on October 13, 2020. Learn more

Listener, Auditor and Sponsored Students

Cost: Free
Interested in taking university courses at McMaster, but not for credit? Classes may be online but community members can still register as a listener. A listener attends all classes, but does not complete assignments or tests. The cut-off for fall classes has closed but now is a great time to start thinking about January. The Listener Form is available through the website. Learn more

McMaster Learning for 55+

Cost: $75 per course
McMaster Learning for 55+ is a suite of online courses designed for third-age learners to enjoy from the comfort and safety of home. Designed to enhance creativity, hone critical thinking, and facilitate the joy of discovery, these courses enable learning in a welcoming and supportive online environment. With topics ranging from the arts, business, health and wellness, and technology, learners will have an opportunity to meet and interact with diverse and like-minded people. Learn more

McMaster Optimal Aging Portal E-Lessons

Cost: Free
MIRA, the Division of E-Learning and Innovation, and the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal have partnered to bring information from the Portal in new video-based e-learning modules. These modules take about a half an hour to complete and cover in-demand topics on aging and mobility, including brain health and exercising safely with osteoarthritis. New content is ​expected in November. Learn More

Do some research


iGeriCare is an online resource for individuals, patients, and families living with dementia. It includes a series of online lessons, resources, and live virtual events on dementia and brain health. Events are recorded and recordings of past talks are available on topics such as hearing loss, caregiving at a distance, sleep, and breaking down stigmas around dementia. Learn more

The McMaster Optimal Aging Portal has pivoted during COVID-19 to focus on providing older adults and their caregivers the best evidence-based information to support them to stay safe and stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal COVID-19 related resources

To help patients and caregivers, the MIRA | Collaborative ​for Health and Aging has developed a range of tools and resources for patients and caregivers, including the COVID Caregiver Back-Up Plan tool for caregivers to communicate information about caring for their loved ones, especially when regular caregiving schedules have been interrupted or changed. Learn more

Watch an online lecture

McMaster’s YouTube channel hosts many lectures, including aging-focused lectures and broad general interest subjects. Highlights include:

Seniors4Change is a series of lectures on positive aging brought to you by the Hamilton Council on Aging and the GERAS Centre for Aging Research. Learn more

For tips on how to age well, visit the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal. The Portal is a free online health resource that shares trustworthy scientific evidence about the health and social aspects of aging through easy-to-understand blog posts and articles.

The McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) aims to optimize the longevity of Canada’s aging population through research, education and collaboration. Interdisciplinary teams work alongside older adults and key stakeholders to find ways that will help Canadians spend more years living well. MIRA also acts as a robust entry point to some of McMaster’s existing research platforms in aging, including the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging, the MIRA | Collaborative for Health and Aging, and the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal.

McMaster University, one of four Canadian Universities listed among the world’s Top 100 universities, is dedicated to creating a brighter world by advancing human and societal health and well-being. In 2017, it became the second post-secondary institution in Canada to join the international Age-Friendly University (AFU) network, a global body of colleges and universities committed to being more accessible to people of all ages.


Email MIRA at:       Follow us on Twitter : @MIRAMcMaster
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