The McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (mcmasteroptimalaging.org), a unique online health resource created by McMaster University to support the healthy aging of Canada’s older adult population, is highlighting ways to stay active and engaged while practicing physical distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that older adults in Canada are some of the hardest hit by COVID-19, and we also know that many were already experiencing social isolation and limited mobility,” says Parminder Raina, scientific director of the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging, which supports the Portal.

As part of this shift to complement information being disseminated by public health authorities, the Portal will profile its most relevant articles and Blog Posts while also developing new content that provides evidence-based actionable tips for older adults to help them adjust to COVID-19 countermeasures, such as quarantine and physical distancing protocol.

This content includes Blog Posts written by trusted experts to support healthy aging; Web Resource Ratings, which evaluate free online health resources based on a five-star rating scale; and Evidence Summaries which summarize – in plain language – the key messages from recent high-quality scientific evidence. The Portal also features a weekly ‘Hitting the Headlines’ column that connects aging news headlines with related research evidence. Three world-class McMaster research databases and consultations with aging experts from across the country inform all of the Portal’s health content.

Some examples of COVID-19-related topics will include:

  • Staying connected while practicing social and physical distancing
  • Living in tight quarters with older parents
  • Providing care from a distance for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • How to stay active when you’re isolated at home

“In line with the University’s commitment for advancing human and societal health and wellbeing, this is an opportunity for us to direct our most vulnerable population, and their support networks, to evidence-based information in order to make a complex situation easier to navigate,” says Raina.