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Strategic Initiatives to Meet Complex Challenges: Our Future Direction

Aging Across the Life Span

In Canada, as in many other areas of the world, a dramatic demographic shift is underway. Canadians aged 85 and over are now the fastest-growing segment of the population. This makes the study of aging more important than ever before. At McMaster, more than 100 faculty members and post-graduate students from disciplines as diverse as gerontology, biology, psychology, rehabilitation science, business, and sociology are examining the phenomenon and science of aging from every angle. McMaster is also the headquarters of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging.

What aside from physical health promotes quality of health as we age? What role do our genes play? Does where we live, how many friends we have, or how much we earn make a difference? How can our cities be built and innovative technologies be used to better support the growing population of older adults? What impact does prenatal health or child obesity have on how well we age? How can older adults participate in decision making and management of their health conditions? How can we stave off dementia, improve functioning for those living with multiple chronic conditions, and address the physical, emotional and economic costs of overworked caregivers?

Our researchers are active in interdisciplinary research centres such as the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative, the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging, the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging, the Offord Centre for Child Studies, the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, the McMaster Physical Activity Centre of Excellence, the Neurophysiology of Fitness Lab, the Aging, the Community and Health Research Unit, the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Program, and the McMaster Digital Transformation Research Centre. Together with our hospital partners, they are influencing prenatal and infant health development locally and around the world. They are even designing smart cars for older drivers and smart homes that can alert health professionals to the first signs of Alzheimer’s or diabetes, and considering how information and communication technologies can best be designed to support the needs of older adults and improve their quality of life.

By blending scientific expertise and medical advances with social insights, engineering acumen, and appropriate management, McMaster researchers are leading the way with innovative solutions designed to support healthy living for longer, and foster active and healthy populations across the lifespan. In addition, researchers in finance and social sciences are devising new strategies to ensure that financial literacy and savings meet the challenges presented by the longevity revolution.