Research Institute for Aging
Research Institute for Aging

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Help us drive innovation! Get involved with the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) initiatives and research to help us answer some of the most challenging questions facing an aging population.

Learn how you can help improve dementia research by becoming a research partner.

Current Research Opportunities

Dementia-friendly Research Opportunity

Carotid artery health study using new ultrasound technologies

Eligibility: All ages (18+) are eligible, without any major acute or chronic medical conditions.
The purpose of our study is to assess markers of arterial stiffness, blood flow patterns, arterial wall properties and their relationship with age.
To measure arterial health outcomes across wide age ranges, we will ask you to come into the lab for a single 1-hour visit to undergo vascular ultrasound measures. We will be using two novel types of ultrasound techniques to measure complex blood flow patterns within the carotid artery, and to measure arterial wall properties. We will also be measuring classic markers of arterial stiffness (carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and carotid distensibility).
In the short-term, we will compare these outcomes across age groups and the potential health impacts. In the long-term, our goal is to use this data to cross-reference vascular health and blood flow changes in astronauts. This research continues work from our lab that examined arterial stiffness changes in astronauts during long duration spaceflight.
If you are interested in participating, please reach out to Ms. Carol Bryans ( or Dr. Roxy Fournier (

COVID-19 restrictions on physical activity and heart rate

COVID-19 restrictions on physical activity levels and heart rate: Men and women over the age of 65 years are being recruited to study the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on physical activity levels and heart rate. Participants will wear a heart rate monitor for 3 days and complete their regular daily activities and complete a health status questionnaire.

Click here for more information.

Culturally inclusive menu planning in long-term care: Dietician and food service manager perspectives

Researchers are interested in understanding how menu planning happens in your LTC home and determine what barriers and facilitators you have experienced in developing culturally inclusive menus. Your perspective on how we can create culturally inclusive menus will help us improve menu planning in Ontario LTC homes. Click here to learn more.

DELIGHT lifestyle intervention program

Dementia Lifestyle Intervention for Getting Healthy Together (DELIGHT) is an 8-week lifestyle intervention program designed to support people living with dementia, and their care partners. Each session includes:

  • Group exercise and educational discussions on wellness topics.
  • Opportunity for socialization.
  • Healthy snacks provided each week.

Winter 2024

Winter 2024 Spring 2024
Location Virtual A.R. Kaufman Family YMCA
Cost Free Free
Dates Monday and Thursday from January 22 – March 18, 2024 (no class on February 19) Monday and Thursdays from April 22 – June 17, 2024 (no class May 20)
Time 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Assessments will be completed before and after the 8-week program.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Marsha Phillips by phone: 519-743-5201 x 2113 or by email:

DELIGHT is offered in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Waterloo Wellington, and the University of Waterloo.

Learn more about DELIGHT by visiting

Diagnosing Dementia in Northwestern Ontario

Participants are needed for a study about diagnosing dementia is northwestern Ontario. The study will explore how the dementia diagnosis process is conducted in northwestern Ontario, and how it can be supported. 

Researchers are looking for:

  • people living with dementia, diagnosed for 1-5 years.
  • lived in northwestern Ontario at the time of diagnosis.

For study participants, there will be one 30-60 minute interview that can be conducted either online or in person.

For more information, please contact Katelyn Wheeldon at

The study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Board. 

Fortify Bones

In this study, we will compare three different types of exercise to help inform exercise recommendations for people with osteoporosis or low bone mineral density. As part of this study, you will participate in two weekly exercise sessions at the Toby Jenkins Applied Health Research Building at the University of Waterloo or perform twice weekly exercises at home with twice monthly Zoom sessions. In addition, we would ask you to come in for three study visits. These would happen when you join the study, after 6 months in the study, and at the end of the study.

For this study, we are looking for men and postmenopausal women who:

  • Are aged 50 or over
  • Have received two vaccines for COVID-19
  • Have a low bone density, osteopenia, or osteoporosis
  • Are willing to participate in twice weekly exercise sessions for 12 months

Click here to learn more, or contact the study team at or 519-904-0660, ext. 4222.

Medication technology trial study

Do you need help managing your medication? Or take care of someone who does? Dr. Tejal Patel, Schlegel Specialist in Medication Management and Aging, is looking for older adults and care partners to test technology that helps older adults take their medication on time.

  • Informal care partners who provide medication support at least once per week.
  • Older adults who are taking 5 or more medications, have an informal care partner, and are willing to use medical dispensing technology and have in-house meetings over a period of 3 months.

In appreciation for your participation, you will receive $50. For more information, call Dr. Tejal Patel: 519-888-4567 ext. 21337.

SCREEN questionnaire

We want to know if a nutrition questionnaire can identify nutrition challenges in older adults with memory loss, cognitive impairment or dementia.

To participate in this study, you need to be:

  • 55 years or older
  • Read and speak in English
  • Living in the community
  • Living with memory loss, cognitive impairment, or dementia
  • Have a care partner who can report eating behaviours and support the person with memory loss to participate

Participation will involve 3, 1-hour sessions at your home or the University of Waterloo. As an thank-you for your time and contributions, you can choose to receive a $25 grocery store/pharmacy gift card or a gift of equal value.

For more details, contact the study team at or 519-888-4567 ext. 41470.

Supporting sleep: NITE-CAD for dementia care partners

The Nighttime Insomnia Treatment and Education for Canadians with Alzheimer’s Disease (NITE-CAD) team is lifestyle intervention program to support care partners in helping improve sleep in people living with dementia. We are recruiting care partners who are living with a person with dementia who experiences sleep difficulties.

For more information, read the promotional poster below, contact or visit the study website.The NITE-CAD graphic is a colorful image using purple and blue to explain the study. The font is written in both white and a dark burgundy. There is also a simplified image of a person standing near a window, with the night sky and moon in the background. The person is yawning and wearing orange pajamas.

Towards Free-From-Harm Care Labour: Laying the Groundwork for Reporting Race and Gender-Based Harm in LTC Homes

We are looking for long-term care (LTC) home staff knowledge holders to participate in a study about minimizing gender and race-based harm for LTC home staff.

The purpose of this project is to better understand race and gender-based harms experienced by LTC staff in direct-resident care.

Participants must:

  • have worked as a staff person in LTC homes providing direct care to residents (personal support worker, recreation, spiritual care, dining support, therapist) in Ontario, Canada for at least one year.
  • identify as a visible minority/racialized person/person of colour (e.g., Black, Indigenous, Asian, Southeast Asian, East Asian, mixed race, etc.) and/or
  • be a woman, non-binary, or gender queer/person with trans experience

Participation involves 1.5 – 2 hours of your time:

  • Online/in-person survey (approximately 15-20 minutes)
  • Telephone/video call or in-person interview (1 – 1 hour)

In appreciation of your time, you will receive $10 for submission of a survey only or $30 for interview only. For full participation (survey and follow-up interview), you will receive $40.

For more information review this poster or contact Giana Tomas at

Virtual lifestyle intervention for better brain health

Studies have shown that lifestyle behaviours, such as exercise and healthy diet have a positive effect on memory and thinking abilities, and can delay cognitive decline related to aging.
The purpose of this project is to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of an online exercise and healthy lifestyle intervention in individuals 65-85 years old with concerns about their memory and thinking abilities. 

In appreciation for your time and effort, you will receive up to $100 in gift cards and resistance training bands.

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