restricted access Living Longer, Living Better: Preview of CIHR Institute of Aging 2013-2018 Strategic Plan
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Living Longer, Living Better:
Preview of CIHR Institute of Aging 2013-2018 Strategic Plan
Yves Joanette, Scientific Director
Mots clés

vieillissement, veillissement actif, plan stratégique, environnement, systèmes de santé, formation

Keywords

aging, active aging, strategic plan, environment, health systems, training

Introduction

Founded in 2001, the Institute of Aging now plays its full role within the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Over the years, the Institute has successfully built a vibrant community of researchers - in a field that is, paradoxically, young - and has successfully taken the necessary steps to ensure the expansion of research on aging in order to enhance the health and wellness of the Canadian public. Over this period, the proportion of CIHR's total investment that is devoted to research on aging has nearly doubled, to 13 per cent from 7 per cent, and the Institute's strategic activities have had major impacts to enhance the health and wellness of Canadians.

In 2011, the Institute of Aging underwent a review by an international team of experts. This review underscored the relevance of the Institute's initiatives and congratulated the Institute on successfully galvanizing a community of researchers on aging, on introducing new collaborations and initiatives including internationally, and, lastly, on launching the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging.

The 2013-2018 strategic plan, previewed here, marks a new phase in which, while building on past achievements, the Institute of Aging will place emphasis squarely on the health and wellness of older Canadians. The Institute's activities in the coming years will focus on identifying tangible solutions that will make a real difference for Canada's aging population.

Context

Unquestionably, the Canadian population is aging and living longer than past generations. Indeed, improving the quality of life for current and future generations of older people is becoming a research priority.

In 2011 the number of people aged 65 and over in Canada reached a record high: five million, or 14.8 per cent of the total population. More than demonstrating the current state of aging and longevity, this figure shows the acceleration of aging that will take effect as the baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1965, reach age 65, with the first boomers in Canada having reached age 65 in 2011. [End Page 209]

According to the World Health Organization, the world population of people aged 60 and over will be more than two billion by 2050, with the same trend of substantial growth occurring in the oldest age groups (who.int/ageing/en/index.html). Consequently, it is of great importance that the Institute of Aging seize the opportunities and face the challenges that these demographic changes present.

Canadians can now expect to live longer, and they can do so while optimizing health and wellness. Living longer can be achieved by people's taking steps based on, and following a comprehensive approach to, their anticipated life course.

Our Vision in Action

The mandate of the Institute of Aging features a central goal: to optimize health and wellness over the entire trajectory of aging, for both individuals and society in general. Between now and 2018, the Institute of Aging will strive to further expand the pool of scientific knowledge in response to the needs of the population. The Institute will more broadly disseminate new research findings, as well as existing knowledge, to the main stakeholders: government policy makers, health professionals, industry, and all other interested parties. Included in this group of stakeholders, of course, are older people themselves: the Institute will strive to ensure that this new knowledge has a real impact on the interventions, services, and products that can promote older people's health and wellness.

An Overview of the Research Priorities

In 2012, to identify the gaps where new knowledge is needed, the Institute of Aging conducted wide-ranging consultations with researchers, health professionals, policy makers, industry representatives, and representatives of seniors' associations (see Figure 1). When asked about the opportunities and challenges facing Canadian society with respect to aging, these stakeholders identified a number of research needs. These needs were then analyzed by the Institute Advisory Board, validated through a series of town hall-style meetings across Canada, and grouped into two...


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