Opinions and Commentaries

We need a balanced research environment to foster a real ‘innovation economy’: Funding research is a crucial piece of a successful innovation pipeline to modernize Canada’s approach to aging. It’s going to be how Canada tackles our ‘super-aged’ society ‘problem’ and makes it a benefit. Funding research for our aging society, along with eventual applications in services and products, will help drive Canada’s innovation economy. John Muscedere & Alex Mihailidis

Hill Times (May 8, 2023)

Population aging is one of our most urgent challenges: Urgently, we need to empower all Canadians to age well with dignity and autonomy. Our governments must develop and implement health and social innovations that enable healthy aging both at home and in the community. Frailty and institutionalization are not inevitable as we age. Targeted individual and population technology-enabled health and social strategies and innovations can delay the decline of functional ability as we age. John Muscedere & Alex Mihailidis

Toronto Star (Feb. 19, 2023)

Canada is getting older — why not make our communities wiser? What if we adapted our cities and towns into age-friendly communities with age-appropriate infrastructure? What if we promoted aging in place? And what if we supported Canadians to age connected to community and with a robust quality of life? John Muscedere & Alex Mihailidis

The Province (Vancouver) (June 9, 2022)

Re-envisioning aging in Canada: A re-envisioning of the aging process is desperately needed. Rather than viewing older adults as individuals to be taken care of, Canada must see its older population as the active and valuable contributors that they are. It’s time for Canada to focus our efforts and increase our investment in healthy aging initiatives, including social, health care and technological innovation. John Muscedere & Alex Mihailidis

Toronto Star (Dec. 26, 2021)

Canadians want government action to protect aging loved ones: Over 90 per cent of Canadians believe it is important that Canada do a better job at helping people over 65 remain healthy and independent as they age. How can we make sure our seniors lead a robust, active, independent and healthy life for as long as is possible? Much of that depends on good government policy. John Muscedere

The Province (Vancouver) (Sept. 9, 2021)

Healthy eating and physical activity is important – especially for older adults: A sharp decline in physical activity can set a number of interlocking health issues in motion, including loss of energy, muscle strength, and balance, especially among older adults. The result is increased frailty, which undermines the body’s ability to cope with minor illness and can lead to more serious health deterioration that requires acute care. 

Globe & Mail (Mar. 14, 2021)

Why healthy aging must be the upshot of the COVID-19 pandemic: It would be in everyone’s best interest to focus now on ways to prevent frailty by investing in policies that ensure healthy aging for all Canadians. John Muscedere

Hill Times (Feb. 8, 2021)

Also published in: Vancouver SunGeorgia StraightWindsor Star, KevinMD.com


Vieillir en santé : une leçon à tirer de la pandémie: Le mois dernier, alors que l’attention du monde entier était braquée sur les bouleversements politiques et la deuxième vague fulgurante de la pandémie, une proclamation de grande importance est passée dans l’ombre. En effet, l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies a déclaré que la période 2020-2030 sera la Décennie pour le vieillissement en bonne santé, lançant ainsi un appel à l’action mondiale et concertée pour favoriser la santé et le bien-être du milliard de personnes de plus de 60 ans dans le monde au cours des dix prochaines années. John Muscedere

Le Soleil, Le Droit (18 février 2021)

Seniors are not the problem – they’re part of the solution: What’s forgotten in the focus on keeping seniors safe is that older adults aren’t solely vulnerable and reliant but contribute greatly to our economy and to our society. Canada’s older adults should not be seen only as victims of COVID-19, but also as a resource to help society recover from it. John Muscedere & John Puxty

Ottawa Citizen (Feb. 16, 2021)

Also published in: Sudbury StarMid-North MonitorTimmins Daily Press, Montreal Gazette


Les aînés ne sont pas le problème: ils sont une partie de la solution: Les adultes plus âgés ne doivent pas être considérés seulement comme des victimes de la COVID-19: ils constituent également une ressource apte à aider la société à s’en rétablir. John Muscedere & John Puxty

Huffington Post Québec (12 février 2021), Acadie Nouvelle (23 février 2021)

Better treatment, respect needed for Canada’s older adults: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the pitfalls of how we approach ageing in our society. Currently we use a reactive, problem-based approach to ageing instead of a preventive, holistic approach. John Muscedere

Windsor Star (Aug. 21, 2020)

How to add quality of life for Canada’s older adults? — AVOID frailty: Preventing or delaying frailty won’t prevent COVID-19, but it will help make Canadian seniors more resilient generally, it will add quality of life to remaining years, and reduce the stress on our health and social services and on family caregivers. And it will help us prepare for the next pandemic and/or looming social care crisis. John Muscedere

Hamilton Spectator (July 10, 2020)

Also published in: Ottawa Life Magazine, O Canada.com, The Province (Vancouver)

For seniors, avoiding frailty fosters better health: Looking at frailty in the context of this pandemic and the tragic outcomes in long-term care, it is abundantly clear that now, more than any time in history, we need to increase the resilience of people who are older and vulnerable to becoming frail. John Muscedere

Toronto Star (July 8, 2020)

Also published in: The Record

Time to stop warehousing Canada’s seniors: The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that Canada needs to change the way we care for our older adults. We have failed in our duty to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our society. John Muscedere & Russell Williams

Winnipeg Sun (June 30, 2020)

Also published in: Ottawa Life Magazine, Winnipeg Free PressHamilton Spectator

Projects funded to improve health, social care of First Nations elders: Approximately 50% of First Nations people over 65 years of age are living with frailty, which is double the national average. CFN is spending a total of $400,000 to fund six projects: three in British Columbia, two in northern Ontario and one in Winnipeg. Nicole Wong

Edmonton Sun (June 29, 2020)

Also published in: Winnipeg Sun

Advance care planning more important now than ever: Advanced care planning – decisions about what you’d like your end of life care to look like – have always been important, but COVID-19 has made such discussions more important now than ever, particularly for those in their senior years. The virus has significantly more serious outcomes, including higher mortality rates, the older you are or the more frail you may be. Amy Doyle

Ottawa Life Magazine (Apr. 14, 2020)

Also published in: Canadian Business Journal

The Future of Aging According to 11 Canadian Experts: Canadian experts review their research designed to help older adults age well. CFN’s Scientific Director, Dr. John Muscedere, discusses climate change. Climate change does not affect everyone equally – those who are frail are at greater risk. Frailty risk factors such as living alone, social isolation and low socio-economic status also increase the risk from extreme weather. 

Experts include Alex McKay, Brent Richards, B. Brett Finlay, Goldie Nejat, Howard Chertkow, John Muscedere, Nazeefah Laher, Arne StinchcombeKimberley Wilson, Eddy ElmerStuart Phillips

Everything Zoomer (Apr. 13, 2020)

Frail seniors will be hardest hit by COVID-19: Canada’s older adults, particularly those with underlying health issues, those with chronic health conditions and those living with frailty, are already at increased risk for severe, adverse health outcomes from even minor illnesses and injury. They will be the hardest hit by the COIVD-19 virus. John Muscedere

Welland Tribune (Mar. 23, 2020)

Also published in: The StandardHamilton Spectator, Focus on Victoria, Peterborough Examiner, Niagara Falls Review, Ottawa Life Magazine

Don’t leave older Canadians behind in COVID-19 preparedness: A major consideration as we prepare to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is to be aware of the different regional impacts it might have. Some communities have larger concentrations of seniors, including older people with frailty, and other underlying health conditions. These are the people most at risk so we may need to be aware of these regionalities for planning purposes such that we can direct our health care resources accordingly. John Muscedere

Ottawa Life Magazine (Mar. 17, 2020)

Check on seniors in your community and help them prepare for the long-term consequences of COVID-19: We need to make sure we recognize the vulnerability of seniors living with frailty. This also means making sure that measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 don’t negatively affect our seniors. Public health authorities have advised Canadians to engage in “social distancing” — staying away from crowded public spaces and avoiding unnecessary close contact with others. But social isolation is also dangerous to the health and well-being of older adults. John Muscedere

Toronto Star (Mar. 17, 2020)

Here’s why you should get your flu shot every year: In fact, influenza is one of Canada’s top 10 infectious diseases and it has a catastrophic impact on the most vulnerable in our society. So start getting your flu shot for your sake, for your loved ones and your community. John Muscedere

Calgary’s Business (Jan. 15, 2020)

Older people are at greater risk from climate change: Every senior needs an emergency preparedness plan, developed with families and friends, and home care agencies. But government agencies and disaster management agencies must also take into account the unique needs of older Canadians living with frailty. John Muscedere & George Heckman

Toronto Star (July 4, 2019)


Changements climatiques : des aînés en danger: Les personnes âgées plus vulnérables ou fragilisées sont exposées à un risque accru face aux changements climatiques et aux conditions météorologiques qu’ils entraînent, disent les auteurs. John Muscedere & George Heckman

La Presse (29 juillet 2019)

Pledge to end your fear of death and end-of-life care: Are you or a loved one aging, perhaps with a chronic heart or lung condition that limits daily activities? Do you have an older parent in a nursing home or who needs assistance with daily living activities? If so, read on and make the pledge. George Heckman & Paul Hébert

KevinMD (March 13, 2019)


Surmontez votre peur de la mort et exprimez vos souhaits pour les soins en fin de vie: Chaque jour, en tant que médecins nous voyons la fin de vie se détériorer et devenir plus douloureuse en raison d’un manque de planification des soins. Paul Hébert

Huffington Post Québec (25 février 2019)

iPolitics (Jan. 8, 2019)

Also published in: Hamilton Spectator, Hamilton Community News, Waterloo Record, Brooks Weekend Regional


La fin du financement des RCE soulève des questions: En arrêtant de financer les Réseaux de centres d’excellence, le gouvernement met en péril le Réseau canadien des soins aux personnes fragilisées. Russell Williams & John Muscedere

Options politiques (30 janvier 2019)

Let’s make Canadian hospitals more senior-friendly: Canadians are living longer. Unfortunately, our hospitals aren’t ready for them. George Heckman & Paul Hébert

Policy Options (Dec. 13, 2018)

Also published in: Canadian Healthcare Network, Ottawa Life MagazineRegina Leaders PostCalgary’s Business


Nos hôpitaux exposent les personnes âgées vulnérables à des risques: Une plus longue espérance de vie entraîne la hausse des maladies chroniques, une réalité pour laquelle nos hôpitaux ne sont pas prêts. Paul Hébert & George Heckman

Options politiques (14 décembre 2018)

When it comes to treatment for older adults living with frailty, less is more: Sometimes, too much treatment can do more harm than good. This is true in all ages but is especially relevant for older adults living with frailty who are much more likely to receive medical care where treatments can pose a higher risk of adverse effects. John Muscedere

Hamilton Spectator (Nov. 26, 2018)

Also published in: Waterloo Record


Soigner excessivement nos aînés, est-ce possible? Inspirés par leurs lectures sur Internet, les patients et familles s’attendent à des batteries de tests et des traitements intensifs, bien que ce ne soit pas toujours optimal d’agir ainsi. John Muscedere

Huffington Post Québec (13 décembre 2018)

What astronauts and seniors have in common: As it turns out, understanding the effects of space travel on the body may be important to understanding what happens to us here on Earth as we get older. And the reverse is also true: studying frailty in aging seniors has much to offer space travel. John Muscedere

Winnipeg Free Press (Sept. 27, 2018)

Why we need to pay more attention to treating delirium: When acquired in hospital, delirium damages recovery and torments patients and family. Gordon Boyd

Hamilton Spectator (Aug. 24, 2018)

Also published in: Peterborough Examiner, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Calgary’s Business, Medical Post, Canadian Healthcare Manager, Winnipeg Free Press


Le délire, un effet secondaire grave et courant des traitements en unité de soins intensifs: De nouvelles études mettent en lumière les taux élevés de dysfonctionnement cérébral aigu – ou delirium – chez les patients qui subissent des traitements en unité de soins intensifs hospitaliers. Gordon Boyd

Le Soleil (4 août 2018)

Who is caring for the caregivers? Our loved ones’ well-being depends on them: Care aides’ welfare is almost entirely overlooked in the health system. The health of care aides affects the quality of care they deliver. Carole Estabrooks & Stephanie Chamberlain

CBC News online (July 29, 2018)

In emergencies, the elderly die. Here’s how we can start to change that: With the Vulnerable Persons at Risk (VPR) algorithm, seniors don’t have to be helpless in the face of disaster. John Hirdes & Sandy van Solm

National Post (July 24, 2018)

Also published in: Calgary’s BusinessThe Province (Vancouver), Hamilton Spectator

All these medications! Taking more than five medications is known as polypharmacy, and 66 per cent of Canadians over the age of 65 are in that group. You may be surprised to learn that 27 per cent of Canadian seniors are taking at least 10 medications. Another group for which polypharmacy is common is those living with disabilities. Angus Campbell

Chronicle Herald More (May 27, 2018)

The medicalization of caregiving: Nearly all caregivers are willing to do as much as they can, but is the healthcare system unduly burdening family and friends? When does insisting that caregiving tasks expand to include medical procedures normally done by a professional become too much? In order to follow the home first philosophy, which believes that most people wish to remain in their homes and avoid long-term care, we need to support caregivers in the right ways. Angus Campbell

Chronicle Herald More (May 27, 2018)

Seniors Strategy must address issues of aging: Canadians 65 years and older now outnumber children 14 years and under, which means our needs as a society are changing. We are succeeding in shifting the aging curve through preventive interventions and better public health — that’s good news. But the changing demographic is causing strains in our health and social care supports. How can Canada rise to the challenge? Russell Williams & John Muscedere

Winnipeg Free Press (May 14, 2018)

Also published in: Troy MediaHamilton SpectatoreHospice.com, Olds Albertan, Whitehorse Daily Star, Hill Times – Health Policy Briefing


Comment le concept de «fragilité» peut améliorer et même sauver notre système de santé fracturé: “L’évolution démographique exerce des pressions sur nos systèmes de soutien en santé et services sociaux. De quelle manière le Canada peut-il relever ce défi?” Russell Williams & John Muscedere

Huffington Post Québec (20 juillet 2018)

National Advance Care Planning Day: Canadians are becoming increasingly aware of “Advance Care Planning,” but what exactly is it? And why is it significant and what are the implications for caregivers? Angus Campbell

Chronicle Herald More (Mar. 26, 2018)

Caregiver benefits, only in N.S.: Let’s face it, caregiving can be expensive. One of the most common questions we are asked at Caregivers Nova Scotia is whether there are any financial support programs for family and friends who provide care for their loved ones. Angus Campbell

Chronicle Herald More (Jan. 30, 2018)

Let’s discuss end-of-life issues – now: Many people have been faced with critical decisions for family and friends who are at the end of their lives. This can stress and burden family members trying to navigate the social and health care systems even as they face impending loss and grief. Sharon Kaasalainen & Tamara Sussman

Ottawa Citizen (Jan. 23, 2018)

Also published in: Ottawa Life MagazineThe Province (Vancouver), Huffington PostMedicine Hat News


Cette année, faites un cadeau à vos proches: Le congé des Fêtes est un moment propice pour entamer une discussion sur vos volontés de fin de vie. Tamara Sussman Sharon Kaasalainen

Le Droit (27 décembre 2017), Huffington Post Québec (27 décembre 2017)

We need to listen to voices of older patients: Older adults must have a voice in policy and program priority setting if we are to implement systems that are responsive to their needs. Katherine McGilton & John Muscedere

Toronto Star (Jan. 3, 2018 online; Dec. 27, 2017 print)

Also published in: Our WindsorOttawa Life MagazineTroy MediaNew Brunswick Telegraph-JournalThe Province (Vancouver), Whitehorse Daily Star, Brandon Sun, Fredericton Daily Gleaner, Hamilton SpectatorGuelph MercuryWaterloo Region RecordNew Hamburg Independent, Moncton Times and Transcript, Saskatoon Star Pheonix, Regina Leader Post, Huffington PostHome and LongTerm Care News


Nous devons écouter la voix des personnes fragilisée: Les personnes fragilisées sont plus à risque d’avoir des problèmes de santé et de décéder plus rapidement que ce à quoi on devrait s’attendre. Katherine McGilton & John Muscedere

Huffington Post Québec (26 janvier 2018)

Finding practical gifts for caregivers: Caregivers need to allow their families, friends, and neighbours to help. Almost everyone understands (or should) that caregivers face daily challenges — people want to help, but they often don’t know how. Angus Campbell

Halifax Herald More (Nov. 29, 2017)

Look out for malnutrition, frailty — particularly in seniors: Estimates suggest 30-45% of patients at an average age of 65 years are malnourished at admission to hospital, costing our hospital system approximately $2 billion a year. Heather Keller & Leah Gramlich

Winnipeg Free Press (Oct. 12, 2017)

Also published in: Medicine Hat NewsOttawa LifeThe Province (Vancouver), Windsor Star, Huffington Post


Là où on observe malnutrition et fragilité, la nourriture est le remède: La malnutrition est un problème commun chez les patients des établissements de soins de santé au Canada, et elle représente un coût de 2 milliards de dollars chaque année. Heather Keller Leah Gramlich

Politiques Options (23 octobre 2017), Huffington Post Québec (29 octobre 2017)

How healthy is the Canadian health-care system? Canada’s health-care system is a point of Canadian pride. While highly regarded, it is expensive and faces several challenges, exacerbated by the changing health landscape in an aging society. What is needed for a sustainable health future? Chris Simpson, David Walker, Don Drummond, Duncan Sinclair & Ruth Wilson

This article was originally published on The Conversation (Sept. 24, 2017), an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.

Also published in: National Post

Dependent seniors need better oral health care: Continued oral health care in later years is crucial for seniors, but can be difficult to maintain. Mary McNally

Winnipeg Free Press (July 17, 2017)

Also published in: Medicine Hat News, Moncton Times & Transcript, Huffington Post, Trail Daily Times, Saint John Telegraph-Journal, Waterloo Region Record

Also a featured interview on The Sheldon McLeod Show, Halifax News 95.7

The many obstacles to health-care improvements: A series of daunting factors have led to the public’s passive acceptance of paying high costs for a narrow range of services of mediocre quality. Don Drummond, Duncan Sinclair, Chris Simpson & David Walker

Toronto Star (Apr. 26, 2017)

Cycling in ICU optimizes recovery for critically ill: Frail and critically ill patients can safely bike in the intensive care unit, even early in their ICU stay. Michelle Kho

Winnipeg Free Press (Feb. 1, 2017),

Also published in: The Province (Vancouver), Huffington PostTroy MediaBattlefords News-Optimist

Also featured in the popular blog The Caregivers Living Room, and subsequently tweeted by André Picard and retweeted by the New York Times Well Blog and Kaiser Health News, among others.

Learn more about this CFN-funded research (CAT2014-06)

Celebrate new year by putting end-of-life wishes at top of to-do list: Tell family and friends your healthcare preferences in case someday you can’t speak for yourself. John Muscedere

CBC News online (Jan. 14, 2017)

Also published in: Daily Times, The Province (Vancouver), Huffington Post

Frailty and the new ageism: Not everyone of the same age has the same number of health problems. Those with the most health problems are frail. And when they are frail, they do worse. Often, those with frailty do worse because health care remains focused on single-system illness. Our success with a single-illness approach has biased us to think this is the approach we should always take. What we do in our health system now fails older people who might benefit if we provided better care. In that way, it fails us all. Attitudes must change. Kenneth Rockwood

Hill Times  (Jan. 9, 2017)

Also published in: Hospital News, Huffington PostWinnipeg Free Press, The Tribune, Moncton Times & Transcript, Olds Albertan, Waterloo Region RecordBrandon Sun, Medicine Hat News

En français: Options Politiques

Getting the flu shot this year? Here’s why you should: And in case you heard the rumour — no, influenza vaccines do not cause the flu. John Muscedere

CBC News online (Dec. 9, 2016)

Also published in: Huffington PostTimes Colonist (Victoria), The Province (Vancouver), Battlefords News-Optimist

En français: Huffington Post Québec, Le Droit

Palliative care is the orphan of the Canadian health system: With good palliative care, we can live out our days relatively free of pain and suffering, confident that our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs are being met. Fred Horne

Hill Times (Nov. 9, 2016)

Healthcare is 24/7: Illnesses and injuries occur independently of the clock and calendar. They have to be dealt with 24/7, 365 days a year. Sadly, that fact seems to have been overtaken by nine to five-ism in too many parts of our so-called healthcare system. Duncan Sinclair

Longwoods (Nov. 3, 2016)

Why ‘frailty’ matters: Addressing the specific needs of Canada’s frail older adults would improve health outcomes and quality of life – and reduce health costs. John Muscedere & Fred Horne

CBC News online (Oct. 15, 2016).

Also published in: Huffington PostOttawa Life, Canadian Healthcare Manager, Troy MediaWaterloo Record, Battleford News Optimist, Slave Lake Lakeside Leader

Tweeted André Picard (health columnist at the Globe and Mail), among others

Canadian Frailty Network Brief to the federal Finance Committee 2017 pre-budget consultations: We believe that frailty should be incorporated into federal healthcare funding models, and that by implementing frailty assessment in the healthcare system and producing evidence-based interventions and practices, true socioeconomic benefit to Canadians will result, including improved quality of life and more efficient healthcare resource utilization. Read our submission — Ensuring a more equitable healthcare system: addressing the needs of Canada’s frail elderly.

New Health Accord Should Consider a Model Based on Frailty: Discusses how it is necessary for the new Health Accord, promised within the coming year by Health Minister Jane Philpott, to include a better understanding of frailty. John Muscedere & Samir Sinha

Huffington Post (July 26, 2016).

Also published in: Ottawa LifeWaterloo Region Record, Times & Transcript (Moncton), Times Colonist (Victoria), The Province (Vancouver), LongwoodsNetNewsLedger (Thunder Bay)

Canadians Need To Be Having End-Of-Life Conversations: Emphasizes the importance of Advanced Care Planning, and how it is important to do so immediately, before it is too late and an individual is unable to make medical decisions for him or herself. Michelle Howard

Huffington Post (Jan. 5, 2016).

Also published in: Halifax Daily Chronicle, Fredericton Daily Gleaner, Winnipeg Free Press, Welland Tribune, Niagara Falls Review, Simcoe Reformer, The Standard, Stratford Beacon-Herald, Woodstock Sentinel-Review, Chatham Daily News, Times Colonist (Victoria), Waterloo Region Record

Why patients at the end of life may not be receiving the best care: Instituting a medical approach that puts the comfort of patients first would help address the real needs of patients nearing the end of life. James Downar & John Muscedere

Policy Options (Jan. 4, 2016)

Also published in: Troy MediaHuffington PostVictoria Times Colonist, Waterloo Region Record, Fredericton Daily Gleaner, Moncton Times & Transcript, Stratford Beacon-Herald

Spreading a better model of hospital care for older Canadians: By spreading best practices across provincial and territorial boundaries, we can ensure that older adults receive the care they need while also controlling costs, directing resources to the right places, and providing for the long-term sustainability of our publicly funded health-care systems. Samir Sinha

Hill Times (Dec. 4, 2015)

Canada Must Address The Health Needs Of Its Aging Population: The risk of becoming frail increases with age, but the two are not synonymous, and factors like poverty and social isolation play a part. Poorer health outcomes for older seniors are surprising considering rising health budgets. Improving the quality of care for older Canadians means recognizing frailty and integrating evidence-based models of treatment and care. Russell Williams

Huffington Post (Nov. 25, 2015)

Respecting the needs wants of the elderly and frail: “My needs and wants, then, add up to a short list: respect for my continued dignity and personhood; staying in my home; no pain or suffering; and not being a burden to others. Major changes to health-care policies and practices are needed to meet those needs.” Duncan Sinclair

Globe & Mail (July 14, 2015)