Foundation blog Grants

Design your menu for mentally healthy living in the later years

The COVID-19 pandemic, which greatly affected older people, created a prime opportunity to learn from them about their mentally healthy living strategies—including tips on the most effective strategies for managing anxiety. That was the goal of the RTOERO Foundation-funded project Mentally Healthy Living After Social Distancing—A Study of Older Canadians.

The Living Well Research Team, led by Dr. Gail Low, associate professor of nursing at the University of Alberta, surveyed 1,327 Canadians 60 years of age and older in July and August of 2022. This timing is important, as it was when public health restrictions were being lifted across the country.

The learnings are captured in a new booklet called Cooking up calmside by side with recipes for you to add to your menu for mentally healthy living in the later years.

What’s included:

  • An overview of the study, including who responded and key findings
  • The benefits of cooking beyond nutrition
  • Five easy-to-make recipes
  • Actionable tips based on the six most effective mentally healthy living strategies to emerge from the study
  • Quotations from study participants with their sage advice
  • Guidance for accessing more help when needed

The Living Well Research Team paired the study results and tips with recipes because cooking offers a range of opportunities to support mentally healthy living at any age.

“Healthy aging isn’t a destination; it’s a journey—and everything we do is connected. When we can find ways to weave healthy habits into our day-to-day activities, we are more likely to have personal success,” Low says. “The act of cooking can serve as a reminder of your abilities, and it can be a healthy distraction from challenges you face. The recipes we included were designed with easy-to-find ingredients, some familiar flavours, and options to simplify and customize—we hope you enjoy them!”

The RTOERO Foundation awards grants to projects that aim to improve seniors’ health and wellness, promote social engagement for older adults and/or pursue innovative research in the field of geriatrics and gerontology. When you support the RTOERO Foundation, you are helping to foster respect, self-determination, better health care and social connection for older adults in Canada.