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Centre for Education and Research on Aging

Past research projects


Pen-Pals: Supporting intergenerational relationships during COVID-19 

This interdisciplinary, community engaged study explores and compares attitudes and understandings of ageing and dementia among school children in grades 3 and 4. The students receive introductory ageing and dementia education in addition to partnering with community living seniors through a pen pal programme. The study also explores the experiences of the seniors with a focus on understanding how this intergenerational partnership impacted their experiences of social isolation related to COVID-19. Read the story.

Research Team: Dr. Shelley Canning, Darren Blakeborough, Dr. Lesley Jessiman, Dr. Michael Corman, Dr. Alison Phinney, Nicole Cusick, Rosaley Klassen

Dr. Shelley Canning


Understanding the Experience of Emotional and Social Engagement for People with Advanced Dementia Living in Long-term care

This research utilized an applied qualitative methodology drawing on concepts of embodiment and relationships and utilizing visual ethnographic methods to better understand the experiences of people with advanced dementia living in long-term-care nursing homes through a focus on their social and emotional engagement. 

Dr. Shelley Canning


The effect of visual art in a transitional care setting

This study was conducted in 2015 by exploring the impact of an art installation created by students at Emily Carr University for a Fraser Health transitional care facility. The residents’ perspectives of the art were explored through go-along interviews. The impact of the art on resident place-making and way-finding was examined.

Research team: Dr. Alison Phinney (UBC NURS), Dr. Shelley Canning (UFV NURS), Dr. Lillian Hung (UBC NURS)


The effects of strength and balance training on cognitive and physical functioning in elderly residential care patients

This research project included an enthusiastic team of kinesiology and nursing students leading exercise classes at a long-term care home in Abbotsford two times a week throughout 2011-2012. The exercise classes focused on strength and balance training. Pre, mid, and post-assessment findings indicated a slower decline in balance for the intervention group when compared to the control group.

Research team: Dr. Michael Gaetz (UFV KIN), Shelley Canning (UFV NURS), Adrienne Sim (Fraser Health)

Dr. Michael Gaetz


Mobility Scooter Research

The UFV Centre for Education and Research on Aging (CERA) in collaboration with the Scooter Working Group of the City of Abbotsford, conducted a research project on the use of mobility scooters in the eastern Fraser Valley region. The overall purpose of the research project was to develop a set of recommendations and draft guidelines that will provide the basis for establishing an appropriate policy framework and educational programs in the area of mobility scooter use. 

Scooter Report


Elders of Abbotsford: An exploration of strengths and issues

The project gathered opinions and information from elders and stakeholders, in an effort to evaluate existing programs for elders in Abbotsford. We wanted to find out about successes in the community, how these successes are supported, issues/problems that elders face, and possible solutions to address these issues.


Aging well in Chilliwack: Listening to seniors

This study explored seniors' values and their perspectives on health and wellness, so that planning and delivery of seniors' services could better reflect the needs of community seniors. Participants discussed a number of challenges they felt could impair their health and inhibit their ability to age well; they also discussed how seniors located information and how they accessed services. Based on the participants' knowledge and experiences, the participants offered a number of recommendations for improving seniors' services and for better dissemination of information throughout the community.

The impact of an intergenerational dance therapy program on elders in residential care and school children participants

Research team: Shelley Canning (CERA and UFV NURS), Dr. Michael Gaetz (UFV KIN), Darren Blakeborough (CERA and UFV MACS)


For six months in 2012, UFV nursing and kinesiology researchers explored the benefits for both children and long-term care home residents who participated in an inter-generational dance program in Mission, B.C. The research team tested the residents for physiological and cognitive benefits, and interviewed the children to explore their experience and attitudes towards their elderly dance partners.

These intergenerational relationships were captured in a documentary film produced by UFV media and communication studies faculty and students, led by Darren Blakeborough (CERA, UFV MACS). For more information or to arrange a showing, contact or

Funding and support for this interdisciplinary project (involving nursing, kinesiology, and media & communications departments) was provided by the UFV Centre for Education and Research on Aging (CERA), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) aid for small universities grant.



“In CERA, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Dr. Lesley Jessiman. I’d always had an interest on the social aspects of aging. I remember being in Lesley’s classroom (Adulthood and Aging) and realizing I could do research on this. It was almost a perfect fit.” 


-Larissa Kowalski

UFV grad, Sociology with a concentration in Social Research and extended minor in Psychology.

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