The Research on Aging, Policies and Practice Research Program, based in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta, is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of older adults and their families by bridging research, policies and practice.

We are a proven leader in research on:

  • care and support of older adults and adults with chronic illness or disability
  • economic and non-economic costs of care
  • social participation
  • social inclusion
  • age-friendly rural communities.

Using primary and secondary data and applying various research methodologies, we develop relevant and meaningful outcomes through an integrated research process with stakeholders. We consider the environments in which people live their lives, including family, work, community and policy contexts. We aim to advance our conceptual understanding, generate knowledge, integrate findings across disciplines, and translate research to policy and practice.


Current projects

  • We are exploring health in context as it relates to the connectivity of older adults in rural communities with funding from a CIHR UK joint initiative (2009-2011) and in collaboration with co-investigators from the University of Manitoba and the UK NDA Grey and Pleasant Land research programme.
  • We are exploring health and creative aging: theatre as a pathway to healthy aging with funding from a CIHR UK joint initiative (2010-2012) and in collaboration with the GeriActors and Friends and co-investigators from Trent University and the UK NDA Ages and Stages research programme.
  • We are determining the economic costs of care incurred by family/friend caregivers and employers with funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (2010 - 2013) and in collaboration with co-investigators from the University of Guelph and the University of Manitoba.
  • We are leading The Global Social Initiative on Ageing (2011-2012) with funding from the World University Network, cooperating universities (Leeds, Sydney, Capetown and Nanjing) and the International Association on Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG).


Research projects completed within the last five years

  • We led the Hidden Costs, Invisible Contributions (HCIC) research program (2003-2008) with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Major Collaborative Research Initiative, making explicit the hidden costs of care and making visible the contributions of 'dependent' adults.


Students Say...

  • "I have seen the results of many different kinds of methods being use through this project and it has broadened my outlook."
  • "I have greatly appreciated the wealth of expertise and insight warmly offered to me by other team members."
  • "The HCIC project has set a standard for writing that has guided my work."
  • "Hearing and being part of the sessions at last year's conference really inspired me to both expand my own thinking about my current thesis, and to think about ways that I could contribute to the overall project with my own interests and strengths."
    Conference Attendee
  • “RAPP has given me many opportunities to transcend disciplinary boundaries, to engage with new knowledge, to broaden my skills and my horizons, and to excel both professionally and personally.”