The Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging is unique in the world.

By creating a vibrant community where older adults live, students learn and researchers explore, we are transforming the way we age in Canada.

A hub for innovation in aging

In 2015, the RIA moved to it’s new home at the Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging on the north campus of the University of Waterloo.

The RIA research and training building includes office space for team members and lead researchers, research labs, community spaces, a pharmacy, a primary health clinic, and a Living Classroom (learn more below). The RIA building is connected to Ontario’s first purpose-built teaching long-term care home (Village at University Gates operated by Schlegel Villages). All revenue over cost is donated back into research activities. The Centre is also home to University of Waterloo and Conestoga College programs for learning and applied research related to seniors care and living.

The design of the Centre, with integrated learning, research and social spaces, encourages connection between older adults, care partners, students, community members and researchers. It provides the collaborative space needed to learn from older adults and their care partners, the training space to educate future health care professionals, and research labs to support the latest equipment and build the next generation of experts in aging. The Centre paves the way for better practices, programs and policies within the ever-changing landscape of long-term care, retirement and seniors care.

The Centre will be completed in three phases:

  • Long-term care home with adjacent RIA research and training building (opened in 2015)
  • Expansion of RIA building and addition of retirement home and independent living apartments (opened in 2020)
  • Additional retirement suites and independent living apartments (not yet started)

Rendering of the Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging

Living Classroom at University Gates

In partnership with Conestoga College, the Living Classroom in the lower level of the RIA building is equipped with state-of-the-art simulation labs where personal support worker and practical nursing students experience real-life situations in a supportive learning environment. Students are also able to apply and advance their learnings by interacting with team members, residents and family members at the adjacent long-term care home. This Living Classroom is one of three established in partnership with Conestoga and Schlegel Villages, and the model is spreading as we develop additional collaborations with educators and long-term care homes.

To learn more about the Living Classroom model, visit