A Vision for Enabling Ageing Well in Ontario

OSOT’s Senior Advisory Council (SAC) and AGE-WELL, Canada’s Technology and Aging Network, have partnered to advance the Society’s vision of ageing well in Ontario. A Vision for Enabling Ageing Well in Ontario aims to promote the value of using an occupational lens to respond to the needs of a growing senior citizen population. Accordingly, the project focuses on profiling the work that occupational therapists are doing and/or could be doing to enable ageing well across the occupational transitions experienced by senior citizens. These transitions include retirement, driving cessation, changes to social relationships, entering institutional care, end of life, etc. 

What is the project?
  • To profile the work that occupational therapists are doing to enable transitions, SAC has proposed a dynamic web portal called En-AGE (Enabling Aging, Growth and Engagement).
  • The web portal will contain downloadable modules focusing on individual life course occupational transitions experienced by older adults.  
  • The En-AGE portal will feature both research evidence and compelling stories that highlight the impact occupational therapists can have in supporting seniors in their homes and communities across life transitions. 
What do we hope to achieve?
  • To increase older adults’ and caregivers’ awareness of occupational therapy services and create a demand
  • To provide accessible information to policy makers to promote the need for continued and expanded funding of OT services
  • To inspire occupational therapists to develop innovative ways to better respond to older adults’ needs by applying this framework in practice, advocacy and promotional activities
What have we been up to?
  • Among the list of modules that the project will develop, two, namely driving cessation and becoming a caregiver, have been identified to commence with first
  • Outlines for these modules have been developed and are in the process of being finalized using feedback from older adults, caregivers, clinicians and academics.We are currently seeking older adults, clinicians and academics to become engaged in sharing their knowledge, experience and stories of impact of occupational therapy in supporting life transitions of older adults. 
  • Join us for a webinar "Occupational Therapy and Ageing Well in Ontario" with speakers Dr. Barry Trentham, OT Reg. (Ont.), Dr. Colleen McGrath, OT Reg. (Ont.), Dr. Sachindri Wijekoon, OT Reg. (Ont.) on June 20th from 12 - 1 pm. For more information and to register .
  • We've launched an En-AGE Facebook Page where will be posting project updates. 
    Follow us to get notifications --> 

Do you have stories of the impact occupational therapists can have
in supporting older adults as they navigate life transitions? 
We want to hear your story!
It’s easy to get involved.  Contact our Project Coordinator, Dr. Sachindri Wijekoon at swijekoon@osot.on.ca. 

The members of OSOT’s Senior Advisory Council are committed to volunteer their vision, support and oversight to En-AGE. Meet the team!

Barry Trentham, 
Committee Chair
Dr. Barry Trentham has over 30 years of experience as a clinician, educator and researcher whose current work focuses on the intersections among advocacy, equity, and social inclusion processes and the social determinants of healthy aging with diverse communities. Dr. Trentham is the Academic Coordinator (UTM) and Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. 

Christie Brenchley,
Christie is an occupational therapist who has worked with Ontario occupational therapists to advance their profession for over 25 years.  Her role as Executive Director of the association, is focused on enabling the Society to position occupational therapy amongst policy makers, funders and the public to support knowledge of the profession and the value it contributes to the health and well-being of Ontarians and the outcomes of Ontario’s health system.

Barbara Cawley,
Vice-President of Client Services, VHA Home Healthcare
Barbara started as an Occupational Therapist (OT) in acute care over 40 years ago and then joined the community sector in 1985. In 2010, she became the first OT Vice-President of Client Services at VHA, where she provides interprofessional leadership to nursing, personal support, community support and five rehab services. Among her many achievements, Barbara has spearheaded VHA’s success bringing co-design with patients and family caregivers to every aspect of our work. She continually promotes the growth of OT within the LHINs, advocates for OTs with the Ministry and its ADP division, and strategically expands OT services within VHA. 

Bianca Stern, 
Executive Director, Health Innovation at CABHI
Her career spans over 35 years in health care within private and public sectors; including community, post-acute and long term care. Bianca is a thought leader in the area of innovation, blending design thinking and arts based tools with an inclusive, participatory user focus, capitalizing on emerging technologies and theoretical knowledge to stimulate innovative solutions for the journey of aging.

Lori Letts,
Dr. Lori Letts is a Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science and the Assistant Dean of the Occupational Therapy Program at McMaster University. Lori's current research focuses on older adults with chronic illnesses and finding ways to help them to live with and manage their conditions while being active community-dwellers. Lori’s research has her involved in work in primary care and other community settings. She is also involved in research to identify and intervene in preventative ways so that people’s engagement occupation and health are optimized. 

Mary Egan,
Dr. Mary Egan is a Professor at the University of Ottawa. Within the occupational therapy program, she teaches courses related to occupation, research methods, and occupational therapy with adults experiencing physical disability. Mary’s program of research is focused on the process of care and the process of returning to personally valued activities after a critical health event.

Catherine Donnelly,
Dr. Catherine Donnelly is an Associate Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy's Occupational Therapy program at Queen’s University. Her clinical research is focused on team-based primary care with an emphasis on understanding how interprofessional primary care teams can support older adults and individuals with chronic conditions. Her research interests also include: program evaluation and knowledge translation.

Aaron Yuen,
Yuen graduated with a Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of Western Ontario in 2010. He is currently the Corporate Manager of Volunteer Resources and the former Lead Elder Life Specialist at William Osler Health System. He has received a Clinical Leadership Award for his work as a project lead for Senior Friendly Hospital Initiative and ACE Collaborative. Aaron's current interest involves understanding occupational transition to community in post-retirement population.

Colleen McGrath, 
Dr. Colleen McGrath is an assistant professor at the School of Occupational Therapy at Western University. Her research interests include Age-related vision loss, neighbourhood and environmental influences on occupational engagement for older adults, risk in older adulthood, intersections of ageism and ableism in shaping older adults' identities and technology adoption patterns in later life. 

Sachindri Wijekoon,
En-AGE project coordinator
Dr. Sachindri Wijekoon is an occupational therapist and researcher whose doctoral work explored the experience of aging out-of-place. As a post-doctoral fellow with the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists and AGE-WELL, she is involved in a knowledge mobilization initiative which profiles how occupational therapists enable transitions experienced by older adults.

Briana Zur
After over 30 years working mostly in private practice, Dr. Briana Zur returned to graduate school to study in a master’s program and then fast-tracked to her doctoral studies. Her return to graduate school was fueled by her desire to provide evidence for her experiential and tacit knowledge in determining if clients with dementia were safe to live alone. Her dissertation was titled Identifying Key Components of Cognitive Competence and Examining the Validity of the Cognitive Competency Test. She was awarded an Ontario Research Coalition Early Researcher Award as a co-investigator examining the perspectives of seniors while aging at home. Briana has worked on projects focused on enhancing the safety of older drivers including post-doctoral studies at Mc Master University, co-leading a CAOT pre-conference workshop and was a co-lead for the Ontario Seniors Health Knowledge Network Community of Practice for At Risk Older Drivers. She is now retired and is busy with her grandchildren.