Aging Home

Posted By 25th Hour Crew on Apr 2, 2019 | 0 comments

Tom McDonald, 68, has lived in various Ottawa neighbourhoods for 40 years. He refers to his apartment in Heron Park as “Tom’s Museum of Cultural Paraphernalia” — a name that makes sense after seeing his many collections: books, antique razorblades, plastic sports trophies, and even an old pump organ. Tom has spent his life finding outlets for his creativity, such as writing short stories and playing musical instruments. But as his Parkinson’s disease worsens, pursuing these passions is becoming a challenge.

Fortunately for people like Tom, researchers from AGE-WELL, the Bruyére Research Institute and Carleton University are developing technology to help senior citizens live at home longer. Bruce Wallace — a key member of the joint initiative — explains how a research lab that’s also a fully functioning apartment is helping to preserve the independence of senior citizens, and could also help those with Parkinson’s maintain an active life.


Camera: Brendan Shykora
Producer: Christian Paas-Lang
Editing: Jenna Cocullo

Tom McDonald shows off some of his favourite collectibles — antique razors.

A framed newspaper at the SAM3 labs commemorates the facilities opening, and its dedication to helping elderly people stay home in safety in comfort as they age.

A screen at the SAM3 lab in Ottawa shows the amount of pressure put on certain parts of the bed, which can indicate everything from regular breathing to sleepwalking in patients with dementia.

Tom McDonald plays piano at his Ottawa home, but worries that as his Parkinson’s worsens, he will become unable to do many of the things he once loved.