Institute Research Projects

This section highlights some of the history of our past research, overviewing the types of research themes studied, and listing past projects.

In keeping with the three main principles of i) a life course perspective, ii) rethinking aging, and iii) knowledge translation, past research at the institute focused on transitions in a number of areas: transition from work to retirement and back, family trajectories (e.g. grandparenting, widowhood), the life course of marginalized populations (e.g. older homeless and immigrants), health trajectories (e.g. abuse, chronic diseases) and trajectories in and out of poverty (e.g. Canadian women). Research can be both qualitative and quantitative or both, is always interdisciplinary, looks at prevention and ends with knowledge transfer. Some examples from these research clusters are as follows:

Work and Retirement Transitions

The latest study in this area investigated the relationships between two transitions – caregiving and retirement – and the implications for income after the caregiving was over. The study employed a multi-method approach using national data files (General Social Surveys) to investigate patterns of involuntary retirement to caregive and in-depth interviews with persons who self-reported that they were forced to retire to caregive. The results indicated that penalties inherent in restructuring a life to solve the immediate crisis of caregiving have long-term consequences. To retire to caregive comes at the expense of income stability in retirement mainly for women who are the least likely to be able to afford early retirement.

Family Transitions

Kinship care is an arrangement in which children, who can no longer be cared for by their parents and are raised by grandparents instead of entering foster care or adoption. Working with a national organization of kin care grandparents, a needs study of the transition into grandparenting was carried out, finding that financial literacy related to raising children was an over-whelming need since child welfare agencies provide no support for these new older parents. The research team, including the grandparents, is in process of developing paper and digital pocket financial tools to help ease their burden. The tools will be evaluated according to the degree of uptake, utilization and outcomes by the grandparents.

Health Transitions

A large pilot study to define and measure elder mistreatment, a precursor to a national prevalence study to be conducted in Canada, examined the prevalence of perceptions of abuse at each life stage, the importance of early life stage abuse in predicting types of elder abuse, and early life stage abuse as a risk factor for elder abuse. The conclusions indicate that a childhood history of abuse in this sample had a deciding influence on later mistreatment, over and above what happens in later life.

Homelessness and Transitions

The purpose of this research was to examine the individual and structural circumstances that contributed to eviction transitions in housing across the life course; to examine housing trajectories and how they spiralled into homelessness, and to examine the confluence of social polices operative during these transitions. Qualitative interviews and secondary data analysis indicated that the transitions from stable housing to unstable housing and back again, from threats of eviction to eviction orders, and from poorer housing to homelessness were different at various stages in the life course and stretched across generations. The study shows how the mismatch between housing policies and life course stages produce negative and costly effects for the precariously housed and the state.


  1. Engaged Scholarship: Evaluating Community Care for Older Adults, 2012-2018
  2. Developing an Action Plan for Addressing Social Isolation in Urban Dwelling Asian Seniors, 2015-2017
  3. Financial Literacy and First Nations Custodial Grandparents, 2015-2016
  4. National Survey on the Mistreatment of Older Canadians, 2012-2015
  5. Financial Literacy and Custodial Grandparents, 2012-2014
  6. Nice Knowledge Exchange, 2012-2013
  7. Defining and Measuring Elder Abuse: International Perspectives, 2012-2013
  8. Defining and Measuring Elder Abuse and Neglect – Preparatory Work Required to Measure the Prevalence of Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults in Canada, 2010-2012
  9. Human trafficking from the Former Eastern Bloc of Canada, 2011-2012
  10. Older Women and Financial Literacy: Bridging the Income Gap, 2010-2012
  11. National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly – NICE (refunding), 2009-2010
  12. Engaged Scholarship: Evaluating Community Care for Older Adults, 2009-2010
  13. Examining Knowledge Translation in Aging: Developing and Developed Countries, 2009-2010
  14. Improving Health Human Resources for Canada’s Aging Population: Recruiting Students to the Field of Aging, 2009-2010
  15. Attracting Students to Gerontology and Geriatrics, 2009-2010
  16. Engaged Scholarship: Evaluating Community Care for Older Adults (LOI), 2009-2010
  17. International Research on Aging (IOF), 2008-2009
  18. NICE Elder Abuse Team: Knowledge to Action, 2008-2011
  19. Institutional Abuse of Older Adults: What We Know, What We Need to Know, 2007-2008
  20. Qualitative Metasynthesis of Empirical Research on the Sex Trafficking of Women to Canada, 2007-2008
  21. From Homelessness to Home: A Knowledge Exchange, 2008-2009
  22. Bridging Aging and Domestic Abuse: Strategies for Social and Economic Inclusion, 2008-2009
  23. Annual NICE Knowledge Exchange 2008, 2008-2009
  24. Evictions and Housing Instability: A Life Course Perspective, 2008
  25. Building Partnerships for Service Provision to Migrant Sex Workers, 2007-2008
  26. Analysis of Second Language Training Programs for Older Adults in Canada, 2007-2008
  27. Systematic Review of Retirement Planning (Campbell Collaboration), 2006-2008
  28. Aging in Place, 2007
  29. Cluster on Population Change and Life Course, 2007-2014
  30. Life Course as a Policy Lens, 2006-2009
  31. International Collaboration for the Care of the Elderly (NCE), 2006-2009
  32. Project for an Ontario Women’s Health Evidence-based Report Card, 2006-2009
  33. National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NCE-NI), 2005-2011
  34. Healthy Aging in Immigrant Communities (Health Disparities LOI), 2005
  35. A Way Forward: Promoting Promising Approaches to Abuse Prevention in Institutional Setting, 2005-2007
  36. Canada in the 21st Century: Moving Towards an Older Society, SEDAP II (MCRI), 2005-2010
  37. In from the streets: The health and well-being of formerly homeless older adults, 2005-2007
  38. Retiring to Caregive, 2005-2008
  39. Community Gentrification and Building the Community from Within, 2005-2010
  40. Healthy and Successful Aging in an Urban Ethnic Environment, 2004-2006
  41. Measuring Health Inequalities among Canadian Women: Developing a Basket of Indicators, 2006-2007
  42. Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, 2003-2004
  43. Health Status Disparities in the Urban Ethnic Elderly, 2003-2004
  44. The Older Homeless, 2002-2004
  45. Divorce and Separation in Retirement, 2002-2005
  46. The Retirement Experience of Older Gay Man and Lesbians, 2002-2005
  47. The Effectiveness and Efficiency of a Structured Adult Education Group Intervention, 2002
  48. A Study on the Settlement Related Needs of Newly Arrived Immigrant Seniors in Ontario, 2001
  49. OPTIONS 45: Survey of Canadian Employers, 1997
  50. OPTIONS 45: Survey of Employment Services Agencies, 1997