Research Grants

Special Announcement for Request for Applications (RFA)


For thirty-four years, the Drummond Foundation has funded important Scientific Research Grants for projects from scientists and practitioners across Canada that have added to our nation’s collective knowledge in support of healthy ageing. This funding has supported the exploration of innovative avenues, leading to new contributions to existing scholarship and to improved therapies in the fields of gerontology and geriatrics. We are very proud of this longstanding legacy and of the contributions made by the scientific and medical communities that the Foundation has supported over the past three decades. The growing health care crisis faced by seniors, brought into sharp focus by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led the Foundation to engage in a process of profound reflection on the future design of the initiatives the Foundation should undertake to maximize the impact of its funding on the lives of Canadian seniors both now and in the future. As a result, we will not be accepting Scientific Research Grants Applications in 2023.

During this period of reflection, the Foundation will continue to operate its Community Initiatives & Grants process that has run in parallel to the Scientific Grants process over the past three decades. Innovative and creative thinking remains an important Foundation priority and we look forward to finding new ways to leverage our support in this domain. We are grateful for the contributions of the Scientific Research community to improving health outcomes for seniors over the years. We encourage you to return to this webpage as our support for geriatric and gerontology research continues to evolve.

Recent Research Grant Summaries

2019 to 2021

Faithful to its roots, the Drummond Foundation is committed to providing “relief from suffering and distress”. The Foundation’s support for research on ageing-related issues has allowed investigators across Canada to study a wide gamut of issues affecting the quality of life of older adults and their families.

Subjects for research have included:
• physical exercise for older adults in short-term care
• therapy for anxiety and depression
• the impact of singing on older adults’ mental health
• the health and well-being of caregivers

Summaries of projects that were awarded grants from 2020 to 2022 are below. They were submitted by applicants with their Applications in the second phase of the application process as concise descriptions of their research. They are included to give a sense of the scope of the research projects that have been funded. For a list of all past recipients, see Drummond Research Grant Recipients

Loneliness and social isolation are very common among older adults, both of which have only worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Loneliness and social isolation are also important contributors to depression, anxiety and overall mortality. Unfortunately, there are very few formal and effective programs in place to specifically address loneliness among older adults living with mental health problems. A ‘Community Navigator’ program has been developed in the U.K. that has been shown to have good acceptability, and potential to reduce loneliness and improve mood among adults with depression or anxiety. The 6-month program includes meetings with a Community Navigator and group sessions aimed at offering practical help and supporting goals to increase connectedness and enhance social relationships. Community Navigators help clients develop an action plan to help them support their social connectedness goals using their local knowledge of leisure activities, and social and cultural support groups. The specific objectives of the proposed research study are to (a) adapt and (b) pilot the Community Navigator program in a Canadian setting. Phase 1 (adaptation) will involve meeting with approximately 20 community stakeholders, including older adults with lived experience of mental illness. The developers of the original Community Navigator program will provide crucial guidance in our adaptation of the program. Phase 2 (pilot) will collect mixed-methods data (including questionnaires assessing aspects such as mood, loneliness, and social activity, and qualitative interviews) from 15 older adults (age 60 or above) with depression or anxiety before and after completion of the program, recruited from Humber River Hospital and community-based mental health organizations based in Toronto. Overall, this study will provide crucial evidence about whether the Community Navigator program can successfully be adopted in Canada and if it indeed can reduce loneliness and improve mental health related outcomes among older adults living with depression or anxiety.
L’hospitalisation d’un adulte âgé frêle entraine son lot de conséquences sur la capacité physique et l’autonomie de la personne, affectant passablement sa qualité de vie. Des approches intégratives de réadaptation gériatrique, comme celles offertes dans les unités de courte durée gériatrique (UCDG), ont démontré une tendance vers la réduction des effets de l’hospitalisation sur l’autonomie et des effets positifs sur la satisfaction des soignants et des patients envers les soins. Alors que la réadaptation en physiothérapie fait partie des soins usuels en UCDG, l’ajout d’un programme d’entrainement pourrait contribuer à renverser l’impact de l’hospitalisation sur la perte d’autonomie, améliorant l’expérience et ainsi la qualité de vie des patients. L’objectif principal de cette étude est donc d’évaluer les bénéfices d’un programme d’exercices physiques de groupe sur la qualité de vie des personnes âgées hospitalisées à l’UCDG.

Méthodologie : Cent soixante-quatre patients seront recrutés et randomisés dans un des deux groupes : 1) exercice (EX.: n=82) ou 2) témoin (TEM: n=82). Les patients du groupe EX s’entraineront 5x45-60 min/semaine (exercice aérobie, musculaire et d’équilibre) pendant toute la durée de leur hospitalisation (=25 jours), alors que les patients du groupe TEM recevront les soins usuels. La qualité de vie (questionnaires SF-36 et EQ-5D-5L) et des variables secondaires (indépendance fonctionnelle et capacité physique) seront évaluées avant et après 25 jours d’hospitalisation, ainsi qu’à la sortie de leur séjour (si ˃ 30js). Les caractéristiques de la population seront collectées dans les dossiers médicaux et les variables de contrôle seront évaluées (suppléments alimentaires, risque nutritionnel, durée du séjour, présence de chute et de délirium pendant le séjour). Cette étude permettra d’établir si l’intégration de ce type d’intervention au sein du programme en UCDG est nécessaire pour améliorer la qualité des soins.
The current COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted all of our lives, but the population most at risk are older adults. Canadians over the age of 60 account for 36% of the cases but 95% of the deaths, with 82% of the deaths being linked to supportive living. Older adults with chronic health conditions are especially at risk. Dementia is one of the most common chronic conditions effecting an estimated 1 in every 13 Canadians over the age of 65. In addition to a decline in cognitive function, over 90% of people living with dementia (PLWD) experience responsive behaviours such as apathy, anxiety, aggression and psychosis therefore requiring constant care. Even in “average times” family caregivers (FCGs) for PLWD manage their caregiving duties at the limits of their emotional, physical and financial capacity. As such, it is critical that these FCGs are supported through this unprecedented time to ensure that they are able to continue to care for and protect older adult family members with dementia. Our research team along with our community partners conducted a research study to examine the experiences and outcomes of Calgary area FCGs for PLWD during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This proposed research project is an extension of the phase one pilot work completed this summer. In this second phase of the research, we aim to further examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on FCGs providing care for PLWD across the province of Alberta. We will examine the gaps in essential information and resources that FCGs have experienced during the pandemic and the impact of these gaps on FCGs and the older adults with dementia for whom they provide care. The goal is to generate recommendations for policy makers, public health officials, and caregiving resource agencies that enhance access, efficacy, and supports for FCGs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In partnership with John R. McConnell Foundation:
Broken bones, or fractures, cause pain, difficulty walking around, loss of independence, and even death. The number of fractures increases dramatically with age and one in three women and one in five men will have a fracture in their lifetime. Diabetes also becomes more common with age, and often co-exists with bone loss and fractures in older adults. Despite this, fragile bones remain an under-recognized complication of diabetes in the older adult population. Exercise can prevent muscle and bone loss, improve metabolic health, and is a promising strategy for fall and fracture prevention. Current diabetes guidelines recommend regular exercise to prevent classical; diabetes complications (high blood sugar, high blood pressure) in at-risk populations. However, considerable knowledge gaps exist regarding the impact of exercise on bone health among older adults with diabetes and diabetes-specific tools, resources, and services focused on exercise for fracture prevention are lacking. We will survey adults over 50 years of age with diabetes to learn more about their bone health and exercise information needs and behaviours. We will work with patients and health care providers in endocrinology, internal medicine, geriatrics, kinesiology, and nutrition to develop a bone health and exercise education program for older adults with diabetes. We will consult on their goals, preferences, and barriers for the education program. We will test how usable it is with older adults with diabetes, and get their feedback. We will then apply for funding to do a large study to evaluate if our education program resources and delivery framework works, and to determine the costs associated with implementing it relative to the benefits. Our work will advance knowledge and practice on fracture prevention and management in diabetes, and create a person-centred education program promoting safe and effective exercise to improve bone health in older adults living with diabetes.
Swallowing impairment (dysphagia) is extremely common in older adults living with dementia due to age-related changes in swallowing and other disease-specific impairments. Dysphagia is commonly managed through modifying diet textures rather than engaging in rehabilitative swallowing therapy. This means that countless people with dementia are left to eat pureed foods and drink thickened liquids, which are unpalatable and lead to malnutrition. As the disease progresses, many are transferred to nursing homes. In Canada, speech-language pathologists, who manage dysphagia, are consultants within nursing homes; therefore, decisions surrounding swallowing difficulties are left to dietitians and nurses, and swallowing therapy is non-existent. However, exercise therapy is more commonly available. Rodent models have demonstrated that physical exercise strengthens tongue and vocal-fold musculature, which are critical components of swallowing. This happens when respiratory rate is increased and muscles of the mouth and throat are engaged to keep the airway open. Therefore, it is possible that whole-body physical exercise, which increases rate of respiration, will help to strengthen swallowing-related musculature in older adults with dementia. In this study, older adults (65+) with early-stage dementia will complete a 12-week physical exercise program. The research objectives are to a) confirm that respiratory muscles can be strengthened through physical exercise in humans and b) establish whether tongue muscles can also be strengthened. We predict that both respiratory and tongue muscles will increase in strength as a result of the intervention. This research will inform the design of future trials to determine the most efficacious treatments for swallowing difficulties in people with dementia and will provide novel insights into the importance of physical activity and multidisciplinary approaches to care. Overall, the goal is to develop effective methods of swallowing rehabilitation to allow older adults with dementia to swallow safely for as long as possible.
Variability in the selection of outcome measures in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) contributes to bias and makes it difficult to compare, contrast, and combine results across trials. These issues make it challenging to identify effective, ineffective, and unproven interventions and thereby impede health care decision making, policy making, and public health programming. Core outcome sets (COS) address these problems; they represent a minimum and standard set of outcomes to measure and report in all trials in a clinical area. Outcomes must be meaningful to key stakeholders, including patients and health-care professionals. Development and implementation of COS leads to higher-quality evidence about interventions. In turn, interventions that work are available more quickly to those who need them.

Physical activity (PA) is a strongly recommended intervention for older adults. RCTS of PA interventions for older adults demonstrate positive effects on a variety of outcomes (e.g. falls, cognition, mobility), but there is no standard COS that captures these diverse outcomes. Our long-term goal is to develop and implement COS for RCTs of PA for older adults. In support, the proposed project aims to identify outcome domains (‘what’ to measure) and measurement instruments (‘how’ to measure) that (1) have been used in RCTs of PA for older adults (via rapid review knowledge synthesis) and (2) are deemed important by older adults and their health care professionals (via community consultation). Outputs will be used directly in future consensus generating activities with international stakeholder panels to develop COS.

Guided by international frameworks for COS development, integrated knowledge translation, and patient-oriented research approaches, the proposed project is an essential step toward developing COS for RCTs of PA in older adults. This work will ultimately improve the quality of evidence we have available to support physical, social and mental wellbeing of older adults.

Drummond Research Grant Recipients

1989 - 2022

Since 1989, researchers across Canada have benefited from support for their work aimed at improving the quality of life for older adults. The principal investigators and the titles of their research proposals are listed below.

Dr. Nadine Akbar
Faculty of Health Sciences
Queen’s University
Community Navigators as a Means to Address Loneliness among Older Adults with Depression or Anxiety: A Pilot Study.

Dr. Émilie Breton
Faculty of Medicine
Université de Sherbrooke
Améliorer la qualité de vie et le bien-être des patients en unité de courte durée gériatrique : effet de l’implantation d’exercices physiques de groupe en sus des soins de réadaptation

Dr. Gwen McGhan
Faculty of Nursing
University of Calgary
Conducting a Gap Analysis of Family Caregivers’ Needs during a Global Pandemic

Dr. Jenna Gibbs
Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education
McGill University
Identifying and addressing bone health and exercise information needs in older adults with diabetes: A mixed-method study

Dr. Ashwini Namasivayam-MacDonald
Faculty of Health Sciences
McMaster University
The Effects of Whole-Body Exercise on Swallowing Function in Older Adults with Dementia

Dr. Dawn C. Mackey
Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Simon Fraser University
Outcomes in Physical Activity Trials for Older Adults: Toward a Core Outcome Set

Dr. Raphael Freitas de Souza
Faculty of Dentistry
McGill University
Better Oral Health for a Health Cognition: Investigation of a New Pathway

Dr. Diane Tapp
Laval University
Research Centre – Laval University (CRIUCPQ-UL)
“We gave him / her the protocol”: Retrospective Cohort Study of the use of the End-of-Life Respiratory Distress Protocol (RDP) in Older End-of-Life Patients in the Province of Quebec

Dr. Soham Rej
Research Member of the Lady Davis Institute
Jewish General Hospital
Preventing Cognitive Decline in Older Adults with Depression and Anxiety using Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Dr. Lisa Kakinami
Research Member PERFORM Centre
Concordia University
Diet for Arthritis (DART): Project to assess eating behavior and build a targeted intervention for people with arthritis

Dr. Pascale Tremblay
Université Laval
Centre de Recherche CERVO
Effet protecteur du chant sur la communication, les interactions sociales et le bien-être dans le vieillissement

Dr. Sylvie Lambert
McGill University
Ingram School of Nursing
Older adults with a chronic physical condition and comorbid depression and their family caregivers: Partners in the co-design of a dyadic self-care intervention

Dr. Claudine Gauthier
Concordia University and PERFORM Centre
Vascular Contributions to Improved Cognitive Performance after Cognitive and Aerobic Training

Dr. Rosalie Wang
Dept. of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy
University of Toronto
Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab
Evaluation of an Outpatient Upper Limb Robotic Therapy Program for Older Adult Chronic Stroke Survivors

Dr. Patricia da Cunha Belchior
Faculty of Medicine
McGill University
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy
Home-based Cognitive Intervention to Improve Functional Autonomy in Individuals Diagnosed With Mild Cognitive Impairment

Dr. Avril Mansfield
University of Toronto
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Can Augmented Feedback Facilitate Learning Reactive Balance Control among Older Adults?

Dr. Dawn C. Mackey
Simon Fraser University
Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Healthy Steps: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Exercise to Improve Walking Energetics, Fatigue, and Activity in Older Adults with Mobility Limitation

Dr. Jennifer Campos
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
The Importance of Multisensory Feedback During Driving in Healthy Older Adults

Dr. Debbie Laliberte Rudman
The University of Western Ontario
Older Adults’ Lived Experience of Age-Related Vision Loss and the Vision Rehabilitation Process: Service and Environmental Influences on Participation and Social Inclusion

Dr. Deirdre R. Dawson
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Scientist, Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit
Maintaining Autonomy as we Age: A Strategy Training Approach to Ameliorating the Effects of Age-Related Executive Dysfunction

Dr. Jennifer Baumbusch
University of British Columbia
A critical analysis of the healthcare needs of adults with intellectual disabilities and their families

Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso
Lawson Health Research Institute
Can cognitive enhancers reduce the risk of falls in older people with dementia? An open label study with age Matched controls

Dr. Tracey O’Sullivan
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Ottawa
Enhancing Family Quality of Life Following Stroke: Coping Strategies Utilized by Family Caregivers to Protect their Health and Well-Being

Dr. Ron Postuma
Montreal General Hospital
Caffeine for Excessive Daytime Somnolence in Parkinson’s Disease – Effects on Sleepiness, Motor Manifestations, and the Potential for Neuroprotection

Dr. Krista Lanctôt
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Predictors of Depression among Elderly Patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Dr. Corinne Fischer
St. Michael’s Hospital
Determining the Impact of Dementia and Executive Impairment on Antidepressant Treatment Response in Older Persons

Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen
McMaster University
Medication Management for Older Adults with Dementia

Dr. Lora Giangregorio
McMaster University
Fragility Fracture: The Patient’s Perspective of Osteoporosis Management and Information Needs

Dr. Alain Leroux
Concordia University
L’exercice physique chez les personnes âgées atteintes d’un accident vasculaire cérébral : effets d’un programme d’exercice communautaire de longue durée sur la récupération fonctionnelle et la qualité de vie

Dr. Patricia McKinley
McGill University
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy
The Use of Argentine Tango Dance to Promote Socialization, Enhanced Balance and Mobility, and Cognition in: Elderly in Transition to Frailty

Dr. Anna Byszewski
The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus
The Regional Geriatric Assessment Unit
Dementia Diagnosis Disclosure: A Study of Patient and Caregiver Experience

Dr. J.E. Tranmer
Kingston General Hospital
Gender Differences in Self – Management Capacity, Use of Informal and Formal Support and Health Care Outcomes in Elderly Patients with Heart Failure: A Feasability Study

Dr. Eliane Duarte-Franco
McGill University
Departments of Family Medicine and Oncology
The Value of HPV Testing in Cervical Cancer Screening for Older Women.

Dr. Mary McNally
Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre
The Silent Epidemic of Oral Disease: Evaluating Continuity of Care and Policies for the Oral Health Care Of Seniors.

Dr. Ysabel Provencher
University of Moncton
Classes sociales et représentations de la santé chez les femmes âgées francophones de la région Urbaine De Moncton, Nouveau Brunswick.

Dr. Robin L. Stadnyk
Dalhousie University
Personal Contributions to the Cost of Nursing Home Care: Policy Differences and their Impact on Community-dwelling Spouses.

Dr. Nadine Gagnon
Toronto General Hospital
Psychological and Psychiatric Aspects of Fear of Falling in the Elderly

Dr. Raewyn Bassett
University of British Columbia
Refining and Validating an Outcome Measure: Qualitative Goal Attainment Scaling

Dr. Sandra Samuels
University of Toronto
Institute for Human Development, Life Course & Aging
The Effectiveness and Efficiency of a Structured Adult Education Group Intervention “A Time for Me”

Daniel L. Lai
Faculty of Social Work
The University of Calgary
Research Affiliate, Centre on Aging, University of Victoria
Validation of the Chinese Geriatric Depression Scale for Chinese Seniors in Canada

Dr. Sarah Shidler
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Consideration of Quality of Life of Older Community Dwelling Adults with Cancer in Making Life-Prolonging Treatment Decisions

Dr. Brenda Brouwer
School of Rehabilitation Therapy
Queen’s University
A Randomized Control Trial Evaluating the Effectiveness Of Two Programs in Reducing Fear of Falling and Improving Quality of Life in Community Dwelling Seniors

Dr. Elsie Culham
School of Rehabilitation Therapy
Queen’s University
Biomechanics of Foot Orthotics in People with Medial Compartment Knee Osteoarthritis

Maria PJ Huijbregts BSc PT, MHSc
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Standardisation of the Continuing Care Activity Measure (CCAM)

Dr. Johanne Monette
Lady Davis Institute
Jewish General Hospital
Programme d'interventions communautaires qui visent à optimiser la thérapie pharmacologique des personnes âgées fragiles

Professor Lilian M. Wells
Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto
Study of Secure Gardens in the Care of People with Alzheimer's Disease

Dr. Lise R. Talbot, Ph.D.
Centre de recherche du centre hospitalier
Approche infirmière systémique familiale

Dr. Benoît Lévesque
Centre de Santé Publique de Québec
Evaluation du Risque Environnemental Dans des Habitations à Loyer Modique (HLM) Susceptible de Causer des Chutes Chez les Personnes Agées

Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou
McMaster University - Department of Medicine
Efficacy of Home-Based Exercise for Improving Quality Of Life and Reducing Risk of Future Fractures Among Elderly Women with Symptomatic Osteoporosis-Related Vertebral Fractures

Dr. Lise R. Talbot, Ph.D.
Centre de recherche du centre hospitalier
Evaluation d'interventions infirmière systémiques auprès de familles dont un des membres âgé, a subi un accident vasculaire-cérébral et retourne dans la communauté

Dr. George A. Kuchel
Division of Geriatric Medicine
Montreal General Hospital
Hormonal Contribution to Detrusor Hyperactivity with Impaired Contractility: A Common and Currently Untreatable Cause of Urinary Incontinence in Elderly Women

Dr. Johanne Monette, M.D., M.Sc.
Division of Geriatric Medicine
Sir Mortimer B. Davis - Jewish General Hospital
Incapacités et coûts reliés à l'utilisation des services de la santé

Dr. Zarina Lam
Faculty of Health and Social Studies
The Hong Kong Polytecnic University
Department of Applied Social Studies
Impact of Multi-Disciplinary Case Management Education On Social and Family Care of Chinese Frail Elderly in the Community: Cultural Comparison in Chinese Societies and Canadian Context

Dr. Daphne Nahmiash
The McGill Centre for Studies in Aging
Douglas Hospital
MCSA Professional Home Care / Ambulatory Care Program

Dr. George A. Kuchel
Geriatric Medicine and Internal Medicine
Montreal General Hospital
Pathophysiology and Treatment of Bladder Detrusor Weakness in Urinary Incontinence of Older Women

Dr. Edward Waked

The Development of an Insole Offering Improved Balance and Comfort in the Elderly

Dr. John Richardson
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
Microtubule Dysfunction in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease