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REF NO.: 83

SUBJECT: Memorial University research focus on healthy aging during free public discussion
DATE: Nov. 26, 2009

With the number of seniors in Canada aged 65 and older expected to soar to 9.8 million by 2036 – up from 4.2 million according to a 2005 Statistics Canada report – healthy aging issues have become a growing concern for communities straight across the country.
And in provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador, which has a population that experts say is aging faster than it is in the rest of the country, embracing healthy aging ideas and research has taken on renewed interest.
Now two leading researchers from Memorial University will help shed some light on the subject during a free public presentation next month funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
Dr. Wendy Young, Canada Research Chair in Healthy Aging, and Dr. Sharon Buehler, honorary research professor from the Division of Community Health and Humanities, will showcase research on aging as part of an interactive talk that’s taking place on Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Fluvarium in St. John’s.
The presentation is part of CIHR’s national Café Scientifique program, which aims to bring university research into the wider community.
The title of the session is Aging Gracefully: Plugging into Health Research.
Dr. Buehler will discuss different kinds of research, why seniors are important subjects of and participants in research, how they can be involved, and give glimpse of several studies focused on aging taking place at Memorial.
Meanwhile, Dr. Young will speak about the research that has been completed on age friendly communities (AFC) internationally and in Canada. She will also facilitate a discussion on how these research findings on age-friendliness could be implemented in St. John’s and elsewhere in the province with the assistance of her Memorial AFC research team.
Both are hoping for an interactive session with the audience, including plenty of questions.
“We know everyone hopes to stay active and healthy as they grow old,” said Dr. Young. “Unfortunately, many Canadians aren’t able to. Healthy aging research is helping us find ways for older people to get the support they need from each other and from professionals, keeping them healthy, active and safe, and ensuring that every senior has the best possible quality of life as they age.
Dr. Buehler said the hope is to attract a wide selection of the public to the presentation. She said the talks are not geared towards an academic audience and the discussions will be kept general.
She said it is important to highlight healthy aging research in light of this province’s – and country’s – population shifts.
“In our aging population, seniors are an important focus of research,” she explained. “I’d like people to better understand how research works and how they can be involved.”
Aging Gracefully: Plugging into Health Research will take place on Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Fluvarium from 2-4 p.m.
The café will be hosted by Dr. Ray Gosine, Memorial University’s vice-president (research) pro tempore.
Admission is free but seating is limited. To reserve a seat, call Jeff Green at 737-4073, or e-mail jeffg@mun.ca
All are welcome and refreshments will be served throughout the discussions.

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