A team of researchers from UBC and Simon Fraser University (SFU) have received $6.8M in funding from the Healthy Cities Implementation Science (HCIS) Team Grants, including $3M from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), for their research that aims to promote healthy aging, by tackling the epidemics of physical inactivity and loneliness that plague older adults living in medium- and large-sized cities.
Dr. Heather McKay, a professor in the UBC departments of orthopaedics and family practice and investigator with the Edwin S.H. Leong Healthy Aging Program, will lead the project in collaboration with Dr. Joanie Sims-Gould, clinical associate professor in the department of family practice, Dr. Farinaz Havaei, assistant professor in the school of nursing (faculty of applied science), and Dr. Dawn Mackey, associate professor at SFU’s department of biomedical physiology & kinesiology, as well as researchers from UBC’s Active Aging Research Team.
The team will adapt the Choose to Move program, a flexible, scalable community-based program developed by the Active Aging Research Team that was shown to improve physical activity, mobility, social isolation and loneliness in older adults. It is grounded in evidence that physically active older adults have better mobility, and better mental and social health than their inactive peers.
During the past eight years, the team scaled-up Choose to Move to reach more than 6,000 older adults in British Columbia. The new funding will allow the team to expand the reach of the program to better serve the needs of more diverse groups of adults by supporting community-based seniors’ service organizations, such as not-for-profits and neighbourhood houses.