Memorial University has a new Aging Research Centre. Join ARC-NL now

About the REG on Aging

This group was founded at NLCAHR in 2007 to exchange research knowledge, review research in progress, find funding opportunities, and collaborate on research projects related to aging and seniors. It also provides a forum where students, researchers, policy makers and the general public can meet to discuss issues related to healthy aging in Newfoundland and Labrador. It will also be an important forum to highlight the research and community activities being undertaken by ARC-NL members. The group's objectives include:

  • Building collaborations and partnerships
  • Mentoring students and new researchers
  • Communicating funding and research opportunities
  • Identifying knowledge gaps and needs relevant to aging

2020 Meetings 

All meetings for the 2020 Fall Semester are offered by webinar only.  Please contact for details.

September 24, 2020 | 12:30pm to 2:00pm NST | Caring for the Care Partner with Dr. Veronica Hutchings | This presentation is directed towards care partners of persons with dementia. The session will provide an introduction to the brain and to dementia as well as highlight the importance of self- care for the care partner. Dr. Veronica Hutchings is a registered psychologist and Director of the Aging Research Centre – Newfoundland and Labrador (ARC-NL) at Memorial University, based at the Grenfell Campus. Prior to moving to her hometown of Corner Brook, she worked at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, NS where she collaborated closely with the ASNS developing and offering programs for persons with early stage dementia and their families. 

October 22, 2020 | 12:30pm to 2:00pm NST | SmART Aging Project with  Karen Tulk and Darla King of Western Health |  Nurse educators at Western Regional School of Nursing are partnering in a community-based arts program for older adults. Dubbed "SmART Aging," the program aims to help maintain and improve cognitive fitness for older adults with mild to moderate frailty or mild to moderate cognitive decline. Those who attended the program launch on Wednesday learned that participants in the program will be provided the opportunity to stay socially connected through in-person or virtual participation in arts-based activities to lessen the risk of developing dementia, maintain cognitive health, promote engagement and fulfillment, and improve overall quality of life. Participants and artists will be recruited to participate in this project. The SmArt aging research project is a collaborative effort of Gros Morne Summer Music, Western Health and the Western Regional School of Nursing and is supported by a SPARK grant. SPARK grants are made available by the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI). 

November 26, 2020 | 12:30pm to 2:00pm NST | Barriers and Enablers to Deprescribing Medications with Dr. Justin Turner, Senior Advisor on Science Strategy for the Canadian Deprescribing Network and Sarah Mackey, CHRSP Research Officer, NLCAHR | Medications carry with them benefits and risks for our health. On one hand, they allow us to prevent and treat disease, alleviate symptoms and extend our lives. On the other hand, some medications can expose patients to risks that outweigh their benefits for example when medications are no longer useful or when multiple medications are involved. The use of multiple medications, known as polypharmacy, is especially concerning for older patients, as it is associated with negative health outcomes, such as falls, adverse drug reactions, hospitalization, increased length of stay in hospital and even mortality. Deprescribing is a solution proposed to address the use of unnecessary or inappropriate medications through the process of safely stopping or reducing harmful or unnecessary medication. Gven the importance of this issue in NL, provincial health system partners asked the Contextualized Health Research Synthesis Program (CHRSP) team to examine high-level research evidence that identifies barriers and enablers to deprescribing.  Findings from that research study will be shared at this meeting. LINK TO REPORT

December 17, 2020 | 12:30pm -2:00pm NST | The Experienced Workers Program with Lori Sheppard, St. John's Board of Trade, and Mike Keough, Older Workers NL | A new program at the St. John's Board of Trade helps seniors who want to work re-enter the workforce. The program is profiled in this news article.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020 |  Learn to Lipread Online | Alison Butler MER, COHC, Coordinator of Education and Awareness, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association - Newfoundland and Labrador (CHHA-NL) will talk about a brand new online course with community health in mind – the first of its kind in Canada. Read Our Lips is an innovative social enterprise supported by Metro Business Opportunities (MBO) that will contribute to the programs & services of the CHHA-NL. 

November 20, 2019: Understanding Dementia | Jessica Flynn from Alzheimer Society NL spoke us about new and established programs that support people with dementia and their caregivers. She also discussedthe difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia, some common misconceptions about aging and dementia, communication tips when talking to loved ones with dementia and how to maintain good brain health.

October 16, 2019 Rebecca Law, Joanne Smith Young and Lisa Little present research on Intergenerational Learning: This two-year study (2016-2018) brought together undergraduate pharmacy students and community-dwelling seniors (living in the greater St. John’s area, Newfoundland, Canada), who were either living independently and participating in Seniors NL (formerly Seniors Resource Centre) activities, or living in a nursing home. The project integrated teaching via community presentations by students with intergenerational learning via informal dialogue. Students and seniors learned from one another about health and wellness, focusing on disease management issues.

September 25 2019 | Award-winning research projects funded in the inaugural Aging Research NL (ARC-NL) Awards:

January 9, 2019 | Mohamed Abdallah and Amanda Devlin of Connections for Seniors a non-profit organization located in St. John's spoke about how this initiative provides emergency accommodations and services to adults 55 years of age and older with a view to promoting dignity and self-efficacy while helping seniors navigate complex systems linked to health, housing, legal and financial matters that ultimately impact their quality of life. Link to Slides

February 13, 2019 | Susan Brown, Lora Bruyn-Martin and Scott Mitchell from University of Waterloo | The Schlegel Villages program- housing for seniors with dementia, the Research Institute for Aging at U Waterloo and new Knowledge Translation approaches to support health aging research.

March 27, 2019 | Mr. Michael Kary, Director of Policy and Research, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) presented on the importance of creating dementia-friendly environments in long-term care. Along with highlighting recommendations on dementia care from BCCPA papers such as Strengthening Seniors Care (2017), Mr. Kary provided an overview of various dementia-care models. Models to be highlighted include Dementia Villages and Butterfly Care Homes - the latter of which is being implemented in some Canadian communities and was the subject of an article entitled the Butterfly Effect. Mr. Kary also discussed a new project that the BCCPA is undertaking with the Alzheimer’s Society of BC looking at making care homes more dementia-friendly, including focusing on changes to the physical environment and staffing in long-term care.

March 28, 2019  Drs. Kerri-Leigh Cassidy and Dallas Seitz of the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry will present an overview of the CAGP's programs and initiatives to support seniors' mental health in Canada.

May 15, 2019 | Dr. Carolyn Harley on a new animal model of Alzheimer's Disease that looks at the functions of a brain area implicated in the changes of aging. This brain area relates to arousal, sleep, and waking and also to learning and memory.

January 17, 2018|  Dr. Roberta DiDonato, a researcher on aging and cognition who works as a speech/swallowing therapist in LTC at Eastern Health, will discuss her NL-HARP-funded project: Do visual enhancements of healthcare instructions improve learning and memory performance in older adults?

February 21, 2018| Heather Pollett of CMHA-NL on programs for seniors’ mental health

March 21, 2018| Webinar presented by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) on Seniors in Transition: Exploring Pathways Across the Care Continuum

April 18, 2018| Mei Li, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Medicine, on her NL-HARP-funded project: Family Caregiver Experiences in Rural Newfoundland and Labrador: The Challenge of Patient Relocation to Receive Treatment

May 16, 2018: Dr. Elizabeth Russell, Trent University, and Dr. Mark Skinner, Canada Research Chair in rural aging, health and social care, on a pilot project for age-friendly communities that will inform a large multi-year multi-province project on Age-Friendly Communities. This work stems from Dr. Russell’s PhD research, which was funded by NLCAHR.

September 20, 2018| Annette Bridgeman and Joanne Rose, policy consultants with the Department of Health & Community Services, Government NL, will discuss a recent review of the Provincial Home Support Program as it relates to homecare workers for seniors. ADDITIONAL LINK : Final Report Deloitte Provincial Home Support Review

October 11, 2018| An Update on the Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Studies on Aging | Dr. Veronica Hutchings, who is to be the Director of a new Aging Research Centre (ARC), provided an update on the creation of this new venture. Much has been achieved to date in developing research capacity and output on aging in this province; however, the key step of creating a dedicated centre for studies on aging at Memorial University had, until now, remained to be taken. Link to ARC Website here

November 7, 2018 | Exploring the Intersections of Age and Sexuality: Concerns Among LGBTQ+ Older Adults about Moving from Independent Living to Residential Care. Rebecca Matthews on recently-completed research for a Master's in Aging and Health at Queen's University which involved a scoping review of the literature.  This research was the subject of a poster presentation this summer at the International Federation of Aging 14th Global Conference in Toronto. 

December 5, 2018| Dr. Suzanne Brake, Seniors' Advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador will present to the group about the Office of the Seniors' Advocate and its work in outreach and advocacy to promote healthy aging in the province.

Previous talks

October 18, 2017 | Ishor Sharma, an M.Sc. (Medicine/Community Health) student on his NL-HARP-funded research project on the Dietary Inflammatory Index and its impact on colorectal cancer patients’ survival: a population-based cohort study in Newfoundland and Labrador

November 15, 2017 | Dr. Veronica Hutchings, psychologist and assistant professor at Memorial’s Grenfell Campus will share gerontological perspectives on music in long-term care

March 15, 2017 | Service NL: Roundtable to Inform the new Newfoundland  and Labrador Seniors' Advocate

March 22, 2017| Dr. Gail Wideman "It Takes a Village: Palliative and End of Life care in Rural NL" and Dr. Daryl Pullman: "Ethical Reflections on Medically Assisted Dying."

April 12, 2017 | Sinikka Okkola on Housing Affordability Among Senior Residents in St. John's

May 17, 2017 | Dr. Erin Cameron "The Female Aging Body (FAB) Project: Understanding Perspectives on Health, Body Image, and the Aging Body to Inform Healthy Aging Policy and Practice."

May 24, 2017 | Dr. Susan MacDonald "Deaths in Acute Care in Eastern Health: the Case for Palliative Care."

January 18, 2017| Dr. Catherine Street on Patient Engagement and NL-SUPPORT

January 18, 2016| Dr. Sue Ann Mandeville Anstey- Aging Nurses with Chronic Disease

February 10, 2016 | Kelli O'Brien, Western Health and Heather Brown, Central Health-Diabetes Care Programming at CH & WH 

March 16, 2016 | Meng Wang on Body Mass Index Developmental Trajectories for Older Canadian Population

May 18, 2016 | Amanda George "The Effect of Physical Activity on Cognitive Functioning and Quality of Life in Older Adulthood" & Seniors' Resource Centre NL Program Overview

June 15, 2016 | Jennifer Woodrow- Osteoarthritis study & Jennifer Henning- Arthritis Society NL

September 21, 2016: Group dicsussion, themes in aging research

October 19, 2016: Planning for a national falls prevention conference

November 16, 2016: Falls Prevention Conference Overview with Dr. Jeanette Byrne

October 21, 2015 Dr. Neena Chappell and Dr. David Speed- Results from CHRSP Study on Supporting Independence for Persons with Dementia

November 18, 2015 Kelli O'Brien, Western Health, and Heather Brown, Central Health- Reducing Ant-Psychotic Use in Longterm Care

May 20, 2015: Dr. Roger Butler on Telegerontology for Seniors

April 15, 2015:  Elizabeth Russell on Age-Friendly Communities and Stephen Czarnuch on Assistive Technologies for Seniors

March 18, 2015: Kelli O'Brien, VP, Western Health on Western Health's Restorative Care Program;

March 18, 2015: Mohammed Ahmed and Reza Shahidi: Remote Fall Detection for Seniors Presentation |Video of Technology

June 17, 2014: Rob Kean, Research Officer with the Contextualized Health Research Synthesis Program (CHRSP) on the results of a synthesis on Fall Prevention for Seniors in Institutional Healthcare Settings.

HIV and Aging Workshop with facilitators Thomas Ergdorf and Gerard Yetman  PRESENTATION

Dr. Anne Snowdon on Health Innovation for an Aging Population  | Dr. Snowdon's Presentation

Dr. John Knight on Developing a Data Inventory for Healthy Aging Research | Dr. Knight's Presentation

Group Conveners:
  • Dr. Sharon Buehler, retired, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University
  • Dr. Gail Wideman, School of Social Work, Memorial University
  • Dr. Carla Wells, retired, School of Nursing, Grenfell Campus, Mamorial University
  • Dr. Karen Doody, Coordinator, Aging Research Centre- NL

Publications by Members

The Impact of Relocation on Adults with Mild to Moderate Dementia  (See Page 6) Kelli O’Brien (Western Health), Judith Wells (Western Regional School of Nursing), Darlene Welsh, (Western Health), Carla Wells (Western Regional School of Nursing), and Leslie Cake Memorial University (Grenfell Campus).

Posters from Previous Meetings:

Posters from Meetings January 2012 to May 2013


Link to Group Presentations & Resources on Aging Research


Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000