It has been predicted that a grey tsunami will soon overwhelm the health care system in Canada. As health care costs continue to increase, there is concerted effort underway to better connect discoveries in health research to improvements in population health. With the wave building, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) is leading the way in measuring and evaluating the impact of health research in the province.
Impacting Seniors’ Health – The Value of Aging-Related Research in Saskatchewan is a showcase of researchers and community members working together to address complex issues affecting the senior population – with the ultimate goal of improving the health and quality of life of Saskatchewan seniors.
SHRF launched their latest publication today with the help of featured researchers, government representatives and partner organizations who share a common goal of positively impacting the health of Saskatchewan’s seniors.
“Our province is a frontrunner in health research and innovation, and the Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to continue investing in health-related research initiatives and institutions,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Jeremy Harrison said. “This important publication emphasizes important considerations for health research and will further help to position Saskatchewan as a leader in aging-related research.”
“Health research funders are looking for better ways to demonstrate accountability and return on investment to ensure that funded research is relevant to the challenges faced by our province,” says Interim CEO Patrick Odnokon. “This publication is intended to create awareness of essential and innovative aging-related health research and ultimately to demonstrate the impact SHRF-funded research has on the people of Saskatchewan.”
Among the stories of impact and individual researcher profiles, two features highlight the interdisciplinary, collaborative efforts at the University of Regina’s Centre on Aging and Health, and the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Kinesiology, to advance aging-related research knowledge and put that knowledge into action.
The Centre on Aging and Health brings together world-class investigators focused specifically on gerontological research in the areas of Aboriginal health and aging, musculoskeletal health and mobility, pain in old age, and personhood and resilience in senior care.
“The proportion of Canadians over 65 years of age is expected to surpass 20% by 2030 and to reach 30% by 2056. It is questionable whether, with its current resources, policy and training directions, Canada’s health care system will be able to handle the increased demands that will be caused by health problems that often accompany aging,” says Dr. Thomas Hadjistavropoulos, Director of the Centre on Aging and Health and Professor of Clinical Psychology.
“Researchers affiliated with the U of R Centre on Aging and Health are working toward innovative and cost-effective solutions to help address these demands. These researchers are working individually as well as part of major national networks and other collaborations such as the federally funded AGE WELL Network of National Centres of Excellence and the SHRF-funded province-wide team Community and Research Alliance for Quality of Life in Older Adults,” continues Dr. Hadjistavropoulos.
The College of Kinesiology fosters a team approach that includes students, colleagues and community partners, and focuses on older adults’ health promotion and disease prevention through the vehicle of human movement and physical activity.
“The U of S College of Kinesiology’s many disciplines naturally encourage a team approach to research that has paid off. Our eight researchers featured in SHRF’s publication tend to work with other health specialists to bring different aspects of science to bear on the health concerns of older adults. For example, our teams include physiologists, psychologists, physical therapists, and experts in bone strength, behaviour change and biomechanics,” says Dr. Larry Brawley, Professor and Canada Research Chair – Tier 1 Physical Activity for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
“Collectively we study and use physical activity and movement for disease prevention and health management of older adults. Input from our community partners, both patients and care providers, help us make our efforts more meaningful to older adults,” continues Dr. Brawley.
Good research requires the combined efforts of good scientists, but it also requires non-academics, such as community members and seniors themselves, to become actively involved in shaping the direction of the research questions. By encouraging collaboration, fostering innovation and developing Saskatchewan’s capacity to do more, SHRF is helping position our province as a leader in the area of aging-related research and impacting seniors’ health in a positive way.
To read Impacting Seniors’ Health – The Value of Aging-Related Research in Saskatchewan, visit www.shrf.ca/Publications or contact the SHRF office to request a copy.