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MIRA & LABARGE CO-FUNDED TRAINEES

MIRA and the Labarge Centre for Mobilty in Aging (LCMA) work with internal, McMaster partners and external funders to support trainees whose research meets the mandates of MIRA/LCMA and our partners.

Funding partners include AGE-WELL, Canada’s National Centre for Excellence focusing on aging and technology, the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) Canada’s network for older Canadians living with frailty; McMaster’s Centre for Health Economics & Policy Analysis (CHEPA); the McMaster Education, Research, Innovation and Theory (MERIT) Program and the McMaster Evidence Review and Synthesis Team (MERST). 

MIRA and the LCMA welcome the opportunity to co-fund research and trainees with partners who share the goal of supporting excellent interdisciplinary research on aging. For more information about co-funding opportunities, email mirainfo@mcmaster.ca

michael_zonMichael Zon: Remote monitoring of older adults with COPD for infection and fall detection using smart-home technology

2020 AGE-WELL MIRA SCHOLARSHIP (PHD LEVEL)

Supervisor: Qiyin Fang, Department of Engineering Physics                                      To meet the increasing medical needs of our aging population, remote monitoring systems will help caregivers automate many of their time-consuming tasks and help patients rapidly detect medical anomalies to facilitate faster diagnoses and better outcomes. This project will work on the development of smart-home technology that monitors mobility and vital signs in older women and men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The end goal of this system will be to provide healthcare providers with real-time patient data, automatically detect medical abnormalities for them, and allow older adults to live in their own homes longer.

maggie macneilMaggie MacNeil: Evaluating impact of a community co-design process

2020 MIRA/CHEPA POST-DOCTORAL FELLOW

Funding collaborators: This post-doctoral fellowship is co-funded by the McMaster Centre for Health Economics & Policy Analysis and the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging
Co-Supervisors: Julia Abelson, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact; Rebecca Ganann, School of Nursing
The goal of the EMBOLDEN study is to promote physical and community mobility among people 55 years of age and older living in neighbourhoods in Hamilton. A key feature of the EMBOLDEN study will be the collaborative approach to co-designing and testing the program, sharing results, and planning program spread to other communities. Older citizen partners, community stakeholders and a diverse interdisciplinary research team will inform the evaluation of the co-design component. Although co-design of community programs is becoming common, evaluating the impact of these processes is somewhat of an afterthought in the literature. This study will evaluate the impact of the co-design process as it unfolds in the EMBOLDEN study.

Reid-Julie-headshot-264x300Julie Reid: How can we screen frailty to prevent falls in older adults?

2020 CFN INTERDISCIPLINARY FELLOWSHIP (PHD LEVEL)

The Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging provided matching funding for this Canadian Frailty
Network Interdisciplinary Fellowship

Supervisor: Marla Beauchamp, Rehabilitation Science
Every year in Canada, 20 to 30 per cent of adults over age 65 will fall. Among this age group, falls are the most common cause of injury and often result in hospitalizations. Frail, older adults often have more falls than adults without frailty; but falls can be prevented. Currently, there are several tests to assess both frailty and falls risk; however, which tests are easiest for adults to complete and which give us the most accurate information is unclear. In addition, it is unclear whether screening for frailty might assist in identifying adults at risk for falls. This study will evaluate two tests of frailty to determine if one is superior and determine whether these frailty tests correlate with tests of falls risk to accurately identify at-risk adults. Results will inform current practice on how to assess frailty and falls risk.

Erynne Rowe MIRA Headshot (circle)Erin Webb: Investigation of CARM1 in aging-induced skeletal muscle atrophy

2020 CFN INTERDISCIPLINARY FELLOWSHIP (MASTER’S LEVEL)

The Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging provided matching funding for this Canadian Frailty
Network Interdisciplinary Fellowship

Supervisor: Vladimir Ljubicic, Department of Kinesiology
Co-activator associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) impacts the response to common physiological stimuli, such as exercise, fasting, and muscle disuse. The function of CARM1 in aging induced muscle atrophy is unclear. Preliminary data indicate that mice with CARM1 specifically deleted in skeletal muscle (mKO) have a significantly shorter lifespan than their normal, wild-type (WT) littermates. Furthermore, differences in body weight and muscle mass are observed between WT and  mKO animals. This study will investigate the role of CARM1 in aging-induced atrophy and dysfunction of skeletal muscle, termed sarcopenia, which may provide insight into novel therapeutic strategies to mitigate sarcopenia and frailty in older adults.

Shera headshotShera Hosseini: The effectiveness of MIRA’s educational program around competency building and interest in older adult care among undergraduate students using a program logic model 

2020 MCMASTER EDUCATION RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND THEORY POST-DOCTORAL FELLOW

Funding collaborators: This post-doctoral fellowship is funded by the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging and the McMaster Education Research, Innovation & Theory (MERIT) Program
Supervisor: Michelle Howard, Department of Family Medicine
Mentor: Jonathan Sherbino, Department of Medicine
Shera Hosseini will help evaluate the effectiveness of MIRA’s educational programs, particularly MacPAGE, in enhancing students’ interest in incorporating aging into their future career choices/work areas. She will also identify barriers to students’ interest in such educational programming. The long-term goal of this research is to build competency and enhance skills around communication and care for older adults, improve knowledge of aging-related issues, and address gaps in education related to these areas among undergraduate students who take part in the program. 

AkiheadshotAki-Juhani Kyröläinen: Linguistic markers of social well-being in late adulthood

2019 AGE-WELL/MIRA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP

Supervisor: Victor Kuperman, Department of Linguistics and Language
Close to 30 per cent of older Canadians are at risk for social isolation and loneliness, defined as either an entire lack or an impoverished quality of communication between a person and the outside world. Social isolation is harmful for physical and mental well-being, and often stigmatized either by the individual or the social group. Thus, it is difficult to identify individuals experiencing social isolation, let alone socially engage them. Prevention of social isolation and loneliness can lead to demonstrably better quality of life and reduced health costs among older adults. This project proposes the development of a software application to facilitate the non-invasive identification of older adults at risk of social isolation and/or loneliness and, simultaneously, promote social mobility and engagement.

307-rasmi-kokash-2018Rasmi Kokash: Emerging issues in older adults’ digital inequality

2019 AGE-WELL/MIRA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP 

Supervisor: Goran Calic, DeGroote School of Business, Strategic Management 
Mentor: James Gillett, Department of Health, Aging & Society                              This study will address the emerging issue of digital inequality among older adults. This is largely imposed by privileges in societal positions and impacts on self-image and social support systems. This study will examine factors influencing older individuals’ decisions to learn and adopt technology supported skillsets and activities towards self-employment. Self employment is one avenue affecting elements of optimal aging, such as labour mobility, social reintegration, and better mental and physical health. Identifying factors that influence older adults’ decisions to become active learners of information and communication technology will lead to recommendations to policymakers and stakeholders regarding best policies and practices to promote equality among older adults.

-MKEL2WTMegan Racey: Physical activity and nutrition recommendations for older adults living with frailty

2019 CFN/MERST/LCMA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW

Funding collaborators: This post-doctoral fellowship is co-funded by the Canadian Frailty Network, the McMaster Evidence Review and Synthesis Team, and the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging
Supervisor: Diana Sherifali, School of Nursing
Frailty is a leading contributor to functional decline and early mortality in older adults but can potentially be reversed through diet and/or physical activity. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to identify the effectiveness of nutrition interventions, nutrition interventions with physical activity (combined approach), and physical activity interventions in improving outcomes related to frailty. Results indicated moderate certainty evidence that nutrition, protein supplementation, and combined approach interventions are beneficial for certain components of frailty, low to moderate level evidence that physical activity interventions are beneficial for frail older adults.   

Tara-KajaksTara Kajaks: Addressing the challenges of caregiving using a ‘co-occupation’ perspective: An integrated research program examining aging and mobility in the community

2018 AGE-WELL MIRA POST-DOCTORAL FELLOW

Supervisor: Brenda Vrkljan, School of Rehabilitation Science
Mentors: Jennifer Heisz, Department of Kinesiology; Cheryl Quenneville, Department of Mechanical Engineering
This project aims to investigate the challenges experienced by older adult caregivers and their spouses as care recipients using a unique ‘co-occupation’ perspective. This research is particularly important given the propensity for older adults to choose to age in place, and Canada’s shift to a health care system that encourages homecare but is not yet capable of addressing all the needs of Canadians being cared for in their homes. In particular, there is often a dependency on the spouse to provide much of the care, even in older adulthood where the caregivers themselves may have compromised health. Researchers have sought to understand homecare challenges by looking at individual components of the care system, such as the care recipient, the caregiver, the environment, and the availability of equipment and assistive devices; However, the team is unaware of research that considers the caregiver and recipient dyad combined with the physical and cognitive workload of care provision using a ‘co-occupation perspective’, where both individuals work in synergy to accomplish the mutual goal of completing the given activity of daily living.

In addition to receiving MIRA post-doctoral funding, Tara was the successful candidate for the 2018 AGE-WELL-MIRA post-doctoral fellowship, which allowed her to secure a second year of funding through AGE-WELL ($50,000) by leveraging MIRA support.

 

Tara-KajaksTara Kajaks: Addressing the challenges of caregiving using a ‘co-occupation’ perspective: An integrated research program examining aging and mobility in the community

Supervisor: Brenda Vrkljan, Health Sciences; Mentors: Jennifer Heisz, Science; Cheryl Quenneville, Engineering

This project aims to investigate the challenges experienced by older adult caregivers and their spouses as care recipients using a unique ‘co-occupation’ perspective. This research is particularly important given the propensity for older adults to choose to age in place, and Canada’s shift to a health care system that encourages homecare but is not yet capable of addressing all the needs of Canadians being cared for in their homes. In particular, there is often a dependency on the spouse to provide much of the care, even in older adulthood where the caregivers themselves may have compromised health. Researchers have sought to understand homecare challenges by looking at individual components of the care system, such as the care recipient, the caregiver, the environment, and the availability of equipment and assistive devices; However, the team is unaware of research that considers the caregiver and recipient dyad combined with the physical and cognitive workload of care provision using a ‘co-occupation perspective’, where both individuals work in synergy to accomplish the mutual goal of completing the given activity of daily living.

In addition to receiving MIRA post-doctoral funding, Tara was the successful candidate for the 2018 AGE-WELL-MIRA post-doctoral fellowship, which allowed her to secure a second year of funding through AGE-WELL ($50,000) by leveraging MIRA support.

Tara-KajaksTara Kajaks: Addressing the challenges of caregiving using a ‘co-occupation’ perspective: An integrated research program examining aging and mobility in the community

Supervisor: Brenda Vrkljan, Health Sciences; Mentors: Jennifer Heisz, Science; Cheryl Quenneville, Engineering

This project aims to investigate the challenges experienced by older adult caregivers and their spouses as care recipients using a unique ‘co-occupation’ perspective. This research is particularly important given the propensity for older adults to choose to age in place, and Canada’s shift to a health care system that encourages homecare but is not yet capable of addressing all the needs of Canadians being cared for in their homes. In particular, there is often a dependency on the spouse to provide much of the care, even in older adulthood where the caregivers themselves may have compromised health. Researchers have sought to understand homecare challenges by looking at individual components of the care system, such as the care recipient, the caregiver, the environment, and the availability of equipment and assistive devices; However, the team is unaware of research that considers the caregiver and recipient dyad combined with the physical and cognitive workload of care provision using a ‘co-occupation perspective’, where both individuals work in synergy to accomplish the mutual goal of completing the given activity of daily living.

In addition to receiving MIRA post-doctoral funding, Tara was the successful candidate for the 2018 AGE-WELL-MIRA post-doctoral fellowship, which allowed her to secure a second year of funding through AGE-WELL ($50,000) by leveraging MIRA support.

Email MIRA at: MIRAinfo@mcmaster.ca       Follow us on Twitter : @MIRAMcMaster
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