Photo of a park, with a paved walking trail. There are two seniors walking on the trail. They are walking away and we can only view their backs.

The Research Exchange Group on Aging was established in 2007 to be a forum where seniors in our community can meet with  faculty, students, researchers, policy makers and other community and health system partners to discuss a variety of issues related to healthy aging in Newfoundland and Labrador. A working committee of this Research Exchange Group was responsible for the establishment of Aging Centre-NL, the province's first centre for research on aging and the group continues its strong ties with ARC-NL today, as an important venue to highlight the research and community activities being undertaken by ARC-NL members.

See Group Activities and Presentations

See Related Content (Publications, Resources, and More)

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, Memorial University

Goals & Objectives

The Research Exchange Group on Aging aims to:

  • Facilitate research and community collaboration
  • Mentor students and new researchers
  • Identify funding and research opportunities
  • Identify knowledge gaps and health and community needs related to aging and health

Join Us

NLCAHR’s Research Exchange Group on Aging welcomes anyone with an interest in aging to join us. See our calendar of meetings for information about upcoming webinars or email us for more details. All meetings are offered by webinar only.

Group Activities & Presentations


January 28, 2021 | Update from the Seniors' Advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador | Dr. Suzanne Brake | The Office of the Seniors' Advocate is an independent office of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador. This Office has authority to identify, review and analyze systemic issues related to seniors and make recommendations respecting changes to improve seniors' services.  The COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous consequences for the lives of seniors. As the Seniors' Advocate for NL, Dr. Brake discussed the role of advocacy during this unprecedented time. | Link to Recommendations |

March 25 , 2021 |Hearing & Listening in Older Adults | Dr. Sarah Sauve | Dr. Sauve spoke about how hearing and listening change as we age, with a focus on the cognitive aspects of these changes. She discussed a wide range of literature on the topic, including speech in noise and music perception, as well as spoke about some of her work in the Cognitive Aging and Auditory Neuroscience Lab at MUN, which focuses on music perception in older adults. Dr. Sarah Sauve is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Cognitive Aging and Auditory Neuroscience Lab at Memorial under the supervision of Dr. Benjamin Zendel. Her work focuses on music perception in older adults as well as the neural correlates of tonality and learning. She completed her PhD at Queen Mary University of London with Dr. Marcus Pearce and is a graduate of the MUN School of Music, where she studied piano with Timothy Steeves. |

April 20, 2021 | The NL Health Accord Committee on the Aging Population | Joan Marie Aylward (Committee Chair) and Dr. Robert Wilson (Co-Chair) | This meeting provided an opportunity for the Research Exchange Group on Aging to learn about the work of the NL Health Accord's Committee on the Aging Population and to offer feedback about priorities and concerns. Six committees have now been established for the Task Force on Healthcare, known as Health Accord NL. Individual Chairs have been appointed to lead each committee on a volunteer basis. Dedicated to supporting healthy living in Newfoundland and Labrador, Health Accord NL will reimagine the health care system in order to best deliver services to meet the needs of people in communities across the province. Health Accord NL will focus on the social determinants of health, or the social and economic factors that influence people’s health. The Accord will be developed in consultation with all stakeholders, prioritizing engagement with various groups – including Indigenous leaders and healthcare professionals. |

May 26, 2021 at 11:00am | ElderDog Canada- Starting a Pawd in NL | Please join us for a conversation with leaders from ElderDog Canada and members of the Research Exchange Groups on Aging and on Human-Animal Interaction and Wellness to discuss what would be required to start an ElderDog Pawd in NL. |

May 27, 2021 at 12:30pm| Understanding Barriers to Reporting and Facilitating Disclosure of Maltreatment Among Older Adults‚Äč |  Dr. Kelly Warren will present her ARC-NL funded research project and Ms. Kelly Heisz, Executive Director of Seniors NL will outline programs for seniors to address issues of elder abuse. |


September 24, 2020 | Caring for the Care Partner | Dr. Veronica Hutchings | This presentation was directed towards care partners of persons with dementia. The session provided an introduction to the brain and dementia, as well as highlighted 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. | Link to Presentation |

October 22, 2020 | SmART Aging Project | Karen Tulk, Western Health Nurse educators at Western Regional School of Nursing partnered with a community-based arts program for older adults. Dubbed "SmART Aging," the program was designed to help maintain and improve cognitive fitness for older adults with mild to moderate frailty or mild to moderate cognitive decline. 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). | Link to Program Information 

November 26, 2020 | Barriers and Enablers to Deprescribing Medications | 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. Given 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. | Link to Report 

December 17, 2020 | The Experienced Workers Program | Lori Sheppard, St. John's Board of Trade, and Mike Kehoe, Older Workers NL | The presenters discussed 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

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) | Butler discused a 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. | Link to Program Information 


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

October 16, 2019 | Intergenerational Learning | Rebecca Law, Joanne Smith Young, and Lisa Little | 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 the 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. | Link to Presentation

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

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Maintaining Brain Health from Birth Through Aging | Dr. Sukhinder Cheema 
  • Improving Awareness and Access to Services for Seniors with Early Dementia | Dr. Karen Parsons| Link to Research 
  •  Evaluating the Association with Benzodiazepine Use and Adverse Outcomes in Seniors | Dr. Gerald Mugford 
  • Evaluating Pain Intensity Levels During Post-Operative Care in Seniors | Dr. Roberta DiDonato | Link to Research
  • Understanding Barriers to Reporting and Facilitating Disclosure of Maltreatment of Older Adults | Dr. Kelly Warren| Link to Research 

January 9, 2019 | Connections for Seniors | Mohamed Abdallah and Amanda Devlin, Connections for Seniors, NL | The presenters spoke about how this initiative, located in St. John's, 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 | The Schlegel Villages Program | Susan Brown, Lora Bruyn-Martin, and Scott Mitchell, University of Waterloo | The Schlegel Villages program provides housing for seniors with dementia, supported by the Research Institute for Aging at the University of Waterloo and new Knowledge Translation approaches that support health aging research. | Link to Presentation |

March 27, 2019 | Dementia-Friendly Environments in Long-Term Care | Michael Kary, Director of Policy and Research, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) | Kary 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), 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. 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. | Link to Presentation |

March 28, 2019 | CAGP Programs and Intiatives | Drs. Kerri-Leigh Cassidy and Dallas Seitz, Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry (CAGP) | The presenters provided an overview of the CAGP's programs and initiatives to support seniors' mental health in Canada | Link to Presentation |

January 2019 | Animal Model of Alzheimer's Disease | Dr. Carolyn Harley | Dr. Harley presented 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 | Link to Presentation |


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

February 21, 2018 | CMHA-NL Programs for Seniors' Mental Health | Heather Pollett |

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

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

May 16, 2018 | Pilot Project for Age-Friendly Communities | Dr. Elizabeth Russell, Trent University, and Dr. Mark Skinner, Canada Research Chair in Rural Aging, Health and Social Care | The presenters discussed a pilot project 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. | Link to Presentation |

September 20, 2018 | Provincial Home Support Program Review | Annette Bridgeman and Joanne Rose, policy consultants with the Department of Health & Community Services, Government NL | The presenters discussed a recent review of the Provincial Home Support Program as it relates to homecare workers for seniors. | Link to Presentation |

October 11, 2018 | An Update on the Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Studies on Aging | Dr. Veronica Hutchings, Director of Aging Research Centre (ARC) | Dr. Hutchings 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 |

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, Master's in Aging and Health, Queen's University | Matthews' Master's research involved a scoping review of the literature. This research was the subject of a poster presentation at the International Federation of Aging 14th Global Conference in Toronto. | Link to Research 

December 5, 2018 | Outreach and Advocacy to Promote Healthy Aging in NL | Dr. Suzanne Brake, Seniors' Advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador | Link to Presentation |


October 18, 2017 | Dietary Inflammatory Index and Colorectal Cancer Patients' Survival | Ishor Sharma, M.Sc. (Medicine/Community Health) | Sharma presented 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 | Gerontological Perspectives on Music in Long-Term Care | Dr. Veronica Hutchings, Psychologist and Assistant Professor, Memorial University (Grenfell Campus) | 

March 15, 2017 | Roundtable to Inform the New Newfoundland and Labrador Seniors' Advocate | Service NL | Link to Presentation |

March 22, 2017 | Research Presentations | 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 | Housing Affordability Among Senior Residents in St. John's | Sinikka Okkola | Link to Presentation |

May 17, 2017 | Research Presentation | 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 | Research Presentation | Dr. Susan MacDonald "Deaths in Acute Care in Eastern Health: the Case for Palliative Care." |

January 18, 2017 | Patient Engagement and NL Support | Dr. Catherine Street | Link to Presentation |


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

February 10, 2016 | Diabetes Care Programing at Central Health and Western Health | Kelli O'Brien (Western Health) and Heather Brown (Central Health) | Link to Presentation

March 16, 2016 | BMI and Developmental Trajectories for Older Canadian Populations | Meng Wang | Link to Presentation 

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

June 15, 2016 | Osteoarthritis | Jennifer Woodrow (researcher) and Jennifer Henning, Arthritis Society NL | 

September 21, 2016 | Themes in Aging Research: Group Discussion | 

October 19, 2016 | Nation Falls Prevention Conference: Planning Session | 


October 21, 2015 | Supporting Independence for Persons with Dementia, a CHRSP Study | Dr. Neena Chappell and Dr. David Speed | Link to Results | 

November 18, 2015 | Reducing Anti-Psychotic Use in Long-Term Care | Kelli O'Brien (Western Health) and Heather Brown (Central Health) | Link to Presentation | 

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

May 20, 2015 | Telegerontology for Seniors | Dr. Roger Butler | Link to Presentation |

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

March 18, 2015 | Western Health's Restorative Care Program | Kelli O'Brien | Link to Presentation 

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


June 17, 2014 | Fall Prevention for Seniors in Institutional Healthcare Settings | Rob Kean, Research Officer, Contextualized Health Research Synthesis Program (CHRSP) | Link to Results |

February 26, 2014 | HIV and Aging Workshop | Thomas Ergdorf and Gerard Yetman (Facilitators) | Link to Presentation Link to Workshop Information |

December 11, 2014 | Health Innovation for an Aging Population | Dr. Anne Snowdon |Link to Research Link to Presentation | 


November, 2013 | Developing a Data Inventory for Healthy Aging Research | Dr. John Knight | Link to Research | Link to Presentation | 

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