Dr. Heather McKay and collaborators to tackle epidemics of inactivity and loneliness in older adults through new implementation science team grant

A team of researchers led by Dr. Heather McKay was recently awarded nearly $7 million funding to tackle the epidemics of physical inactivity and loneliness that plague older adults living in medium- and large-sized cities. Dr. McKay is an investigator and member of the Leadership Committee of the Edwin S.H. Leong Healthy Aging Program and a Professor in the Departments of Orthopaedics and Family Practice at the University of British Columbia. The project is called “Healthy Cities-Implementation Science Team in Healthy Aging” and will receive $3 million from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research as well as funding from other organizations.

The implementation science project is grounded in evidence that physically active older adults have better mobility, mental and social health than their inactive peers. The team will implement 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.

Previously, the team scaled-up Choose to Move over 8 years to reach more than 6000 older adults in British Columbia. To date, the program had engaged mostly white, female, older adults living in Metro Vancouver. With this new funding the team will expand the reach of Choose to Move to better serve the needs of more diverse groups of adults. This will be done by supporting community-based seniors’ service organizations, such as not-for-profits, neighbourhood houses, etc., to adapt Choose to Move to fit the older adults they serve, and build capacity in these organizations to deliver Choose to Move.

The impact of this project will be engaged community organizations, a program that has been adapted to serve diverse older adults, a new generation of implementation scientists, and healthy, active and connected older adults.

Congratulations to Dr. McKay, The Active Aging Research Team, and all the collaborators involved in this exciting and important project!

See the funding announcement here