The project will examine how to foster social connections and resilience post-pandemic among four groups of older adults (65+) identified as being at high risk for social isolation: 1) invisible minorities; 2) those with symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression; 3) those with challenges completing daily tasks such as dressing, cooking, shopping, transportation, and cleaning the home; and 4) their caregivers.

This research will impact the lives of older adults in several ways. First, we will merge academic research (high-level targeted reviews of literature and data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging based on organizational needs and will translate research-based knowledge into plain language (French and English), practice-oriented formats in collaboration with intersectoral stakeholders interested in fostering greater social connectedness and resilience among older adults. Second, the research team will assess innovations in this area and support the sharing of successful approaches, including several discovery outcomes (e.g., using data to identify risk and resilience factors); and translational outcomes (organizational change and innovative interventions) resulting in greater social impact.

Project Objectives:

  • Establish a research network of advocacy groups and organizations providing services to older adults and their caregivers in British Columbia (BC) and Quebec (QC) to (a) define social isolation challenges for marginalized older adults and (b) help review academic research on the target groups.
  • Co-develop an evidence-based response to organizational needs that will serve as a platform for community deployment based on syntheses, and translation into lay language, of academic research.
  • Implement priority strategic innovations within and between organizations with common aims and contexts to test the new co-produced approaches and techniques for reducing marginalization and social isolation in the four target groups.

Principal Investigator:

Andrew Wister, Professor, Department of Gerontology and Director, Gerontology Research Centre, Simon Fraser University 

Mélanie Levasseur, Professor and Research Director, School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke and Researcher, Research Centre on Aging, CIUSS de l'Estrie-CHUS


Laura Kadowaki, Adjunct Professor and Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Gerontology, Simon Fraser University

John Pickering, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Gerontology Research Centre, Simon Fraser University

Lun Li, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, MacEwan University

Ruth Ndjaboue, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Université de Sherbrooke and Researcher, Research Centre on Aging, CIUSS de l'Estrie-CHUS

Valérie Poulin, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and Researcher, Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Readaptation et Integration Sociale (CIRRIS) of the CIUSSS de la Capitale-National 

Caroline Francoeur, Researcher, Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement - CIUSSS de l'Estrie - CHUS


Line Dubé, President, FADOQ Estrié

Leslie Gaudette, President, Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of British Columbia (COSCO BC)

Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director, Government Relations and Programs, United Way British Columbia 

Marianne Brisebois, Communications Manager, Fédération Des Centres D'action Bénévole du Québec

Samuell Beaudoin, General Director, GRIS Estrié

Danielle Ferron, Senior Citizen Representative 

Kathleen Jamieson, Senior Citizen Representative

View the Social Isolation and Loneliness Fact Sheet to learn more about this project.