Elderly communities are learning more about their health and how to manage their daily lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to a partnership between a University of Alberta researcher and a senior living and care provider.
“We’ve been recording fixed sessions on some aspects of healthy aging like brain health and bladder control, and also to answer questions about current health concerns with older people,” said Adrian Wagg, director of the U of A Division of Geriatric Medicine, who partnered with Optima Living Communities.
“As you might expect, this has largely concentrated on the coronavirus in the last couple of sessions, trying to dispel some myths and misinformation about it.”
In the videos related to COVID-19, Wagg provides tips on how to stay socially connected, what precautions seniors should take and how to continue to receive regular medical care during this time, among other topics.
According to Farid Damji, the co-founder and principal at Optima Living Communities, the videos have had a very positive response from the community so far.
“Our audience found Dr. Wagg very approachable, and easy to follow and understand,” said Damji. “Seniors in the community and their families are asking us to do more.”
For Wagg, who holds the Alberta Health Services Chair in Healthy Aging, the project is a very promising way to improve elderly people’s well-being and expand research opportunities.
“We do a lot of community-based participatory research, and have a long history of patient engagement in designing and guiding our research,” he explained.
“This series of interactive talks is aimed at improving the health literacy of seniors. Residents at Optima Living Communities might like to take part in some of our studies, but we are committed to interactive health education and that will improve self-management of any medical conditions that they might have.”
The videos are publicly available to seniors and families everywhere who want to learn more. The partnership will continue over the next three years, with both parties keen to provide more tools to improve elderly care and health.
“It’s an innovative, creative partnership and it’s come together as a meeting of minds. It’s meeting everyone’s needs,” said Wagg. “I would encourage other researchers to explore similar avenues.”