The number of adults over age 65 in Canada is growing as baby boomers age. Older adults are the most likely to be diagnosed with cancer and likely to have other chronic health conditions. These health conditions may mean increased medications, medical appointments, and/or difficulties getting around, which combine to make the cancer experience more challenging. Older adults may also require help from family or friends to attend their many cancer and other health appointments (family doctor, geriatrics, and other specialists). COVID-19 has created additional challenges for older adults with reports of reduced or limited treatment offerings, and a sudden shift to virtual appointments.
My research responds to ongoing calls to rethink how we provide care for older adults with cancer. Specifically, we will partner with patients, community groups, health system leaders, and clinicians to co-create and implement tools to make cancer management easier for older adults. This work focuses on improving the processes rather than merely supporting individuals to navigate complex systems. This research will have important implications for health systems, clinicians, and researchers, but most significantly for older adults with cancer.