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The new memorandum of understanding is the latest milestone in a long-standing relationship between the foundation and university that facilitates a greater commitment and a more collaborative working relationship on aging-related research and education conducted through the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging. As part of the new agreement, an Aging Research Leadership Council has been established for oversight of the centre’s operations and investments in mutually beneficial aging-related research activities on behalf of BSF and the university. This will include all BSF aging-related research activities, locally and abroad.
The Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging was first established at the University of Calgary in 2011, through a philanthropic gift from BSF. The centre was created to enhance the health and wellness of older adults and to better inform public policy regarding older adults’ issues through coordinated research, teaching and learning, and community outreach efforts. The centre has been housed under the O’Brien Institute for Public Health since 2016, strengthening its capacity as a collaborative hub for transdisciplinary aging research and education undertaken by faculties across the university and beyond.
In 2020, the connection between the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging and BSF was further enhanced when the centre moved to its home within BSF’s Cambridge Manor, a new aging care and seniors’ living community. Being based out of Cambridge Manor, located in the University District in close proximity to the university campus, enables researchers and students from across various faculties greater access to this dynamic research and learning environment within an assisted living and long-term care setting.
Some examples of research supported by the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging at Cambridge Manor include: exploring the therapeutic potential of gardening; examining the therapeutic role of robotic pets in increasing physical and social engagement; utilizing virtual reality supported Reminiscence Therapy for residents living with dementia and their families; an implementation study evaluating a clinical care pathway for LTC residents living with frailty; and a project focused on preventing back injuries and work-related stress among healthcare workers through the combination of back health education and mindfulness training with real-time feedback using artificial intelligence and wearable sensors.
The Brenda Strafford Foundation also supports Research Chairs in Geriatric Medicine, Alzheimer’s Disease, and the Prevention of Domestic Violence at the University of Calgary.