Darren Blakeborough,

Darren is a graduate of the University College of the Fraser Valley with an Associate of Arts in Media and Communication Studies, a BA in Sociology and an Extended Minor in Theatre Studies.  His Master's degree in Communication Studies was acquired at the University of Calgary where he looked at media representations of aging in our culture and utilized Television's The Simpsons for his case study.  Darren is a doctoral candidate at the University of Calgary.   

Darren's Master's Thesis, "Old People are Useless: Representations of aging on the Simpsons”, was published in October 2009 by Lambert Academic Press.  He has several publications including the Canadian Journal on Aging.  Darren's research interests include Aging Studies (specifically media representation of aging), popular culture, technology and new media, advertising, and performance studies. He also teaches a course on Culture and Aging.  

Darren is currently focussed on the completion of his PhD and editing a documentary film on a CERA research project from 2012 where 7 elementary school girls participated in a weekly dance class with members of the Mission, BC care home Pleasant View.  Future research will look at elder use and engagement with New Media as well as looking at Abbotsford's aging LGBT population.

Shelley Canning (Coordinator),


Shelley is a faculty member in the School of Health Studies teaching in the first year of the Nursing programme.  Both her clinical and classroom teaching focuses on care of the older adult.  Prior to coming to UFV, Shelley's clinical practise experience included oncology and palliative care, and case management in the community.  She is currently completing a PhD in Nursing at UBC where she previously obtained her MSN and BSN.

Shelley's research interests have focused on older adults living in residential care. She is interested in quality of life issues for residents, particularly those with dementia.  Her dissertation research uses focused ethnography to explore meaningful engagement for older adults with advanced dementia living in long-term care nursing homes. Shelley is interested in methods that produce visual data and seek the perspective of individuals with advanced dementia. Past research has explored arts-based interventions and inter-generational relationships.  Along with CERA colleague Darren Blakeborough (UFV MACS) and Dr. Michael Gaetz (UFV KIN), Shelley was involved in research partnering children from local elementary schools with residents in care in an intergenerational dance programme culminating in the production of a documentary film – “They aren’t scary”. Currently Shelley is partnering with Dr. Lesley Jessiman (CERA & UFV Psychology) in research exploring ageism


Andrea Hughes,

Andrea is a faculty member in the department of Psychology at UFV.  Andrea’s focus is in the area of cognition and memory function.  She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Saskatchewan before moving to Simon Fraser University to complete her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology.   

For her graduate research, Andrea focused on basic memory function and forgetting behaviour.  Following this she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington in St. Louis where she extended her work to examine memory within the context of the ageing process.  Andrea has examined memory and ageing for a variety of types of information (faces, birds, sources of information etc.) and focusses primarily on non-pathological/healthy ageing.  

Her current focus seeks to examine how one’s cultural background and beliefs about memory may influence memory as we age.  As a broad focus Andrea aims to highlight the fact that, while some aspects of memory decline with age, many forms of memory remain intact as we move into elder years.  She is also involved in collaboration with Dr. Lesley Jessiman on a project investigating ageing and comprehension of sarcasm.

Lesley Jessiman,

Lesley is a faculty member in the department of psychology, in the School of Arts.  Lesley principally teaches Development Psychology at both the lower and upper levels. She teaches early childhood development, adolescence, early and middle adulthood and also older adulthood. She also teaches neuropsychology. 

Lesley's research focus is how typical and pathological ageing affects language and memory.  For her PhD she examined how Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) affect language that relies on more conscious control.  Specifically she focused on what parts of the brain are affected by typical and pathological ageing and thus what subsequent linguistic and cognitive functions are affected by these age-related neurological changes. As a post-doctoral research fellow, Lesley continued her research into the effects of PD on language and communications and examined how typical ageing and PD affects everyday communicative tasks such as holding conversations.

Lesley is currently collaborating with Shelley Canning looking at how secondary education influences ageist opinions and beliefs. She is also looking at how ageism affects the use of elderspeak.  Lesley is also looking at misconceptions of elder mistreatment/abuse. The principal focus in all of her research is improving the quality of life of the older adult and dispelling the myths that only seek to exacerbate the negative stereotypes of old age.

Jenn MacDonald,

Jenn is a staff member in the Program Development and Quality Assurance Office at UFV. Jenn started working at UFV in 2015 in the Research Services Office. She has experience in research grant administration, grant writing and research ethics. Jenn has also worked as an advisor for the Bachelor of Kinesiology program at UFV. Before moving to British Columbia, Jenn completed her undergraduate education at Brock University in Women’s and Gender Studies and her M.A. in Health and Aging at McMaster University.  

For her graduate research, Jenn focused on social capital and community engagement in community farmers’ markets and the impact on the wellbeing of older adults. She was also involved in several research projects at McMaster, including: representations and experiences of older adults and sport; older adults and automotive technologies; and LGBTQ and aging. Her research interests include women’s health; civic engagement; social capital; health and wellbeing of older adults; critical approaches to “successful” aging.


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