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McMaster University

Collaborative for Health and Aging

Older Adult and Caregiver Partners

The McMaster Collaborative for Health and Aging recognizes that getting to know our older adult and caregiver partners is paramount to optimizing our approaches and ensuring positive engagement experiences. As researchers, trainees, and staff we want to learn about the unique aging lens older adults and caregivers bring to the Collaborative.

The Collaborative engages with older adults as patient, caregiver, and public research partners in all activities of the Collaborative to ensure that the needs, perspectives, and aspirations of older adults are reflected in our work.

Our philosophy of collaboration

When we come together, we strive to…

  • Recognize that everyone is doing their best and is an asset to the conversation
  • Be open, respectful and nonjudgmental towards all participants
  • Employ active, empathetic listening skills
  • Express curiosity with respect and humility
  • Speak from own experience (use ‘I’ statements)
  • Participate actively and engage in dialogue to seek understanding
  • Maintain confidentiality and a respectful stance toward all participants
  • Listen to other points of view and try to understand other interests
  • Remain flexible and open-minded

This statement was adapted from guidelines used by Dr. Arig al Shaibah, Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion, McMaster University

Meet our Older Adult and Caregiver Members 

Tina Falbo
Tina Falbo

Tina Falbo is a McMaster Humanities Alumni and retired teacher from the Hamilton Wentworth School Board. Tina was a full-time caregiver to both of her elderly parents for several years until their recent passing. She has an interest in healthy aging as well as a genuine desire to make a difference and improve the lives of older adults. Tina is interested in sharing her experiences and learning from a formidable team of world-class experts. 

Michael Kirk
Michael Kirk

Michael Kirk retired from the Ontario Public service after 28 years of service and pursued a second ten-year career in teaching at a private college. He is a passionate believer in both lifelong learning and exploring new horizons. Over the last 18 years, he has sought out volunteer opportunities in the not-for-profit sector as well as contributing his time as a patient educator and advocate in healthcare programs at Sheridan College and McMaster. As an older adult who is both a caregiver and someone with chronic illness, he is committed to sharing his lived experience as a way of giving back to the community.

Joyce Luyckx
Joyce Luyckx

Joyce Luyckx enjoyed a career as a senior executive in finance and held several management roles in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Joyce is a co-caregiver of her elderly parents and recently assumed the role of care partner to her spouse. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was an active volunteer at Maple Villa Long Term Care Centre in Burlington, ON. Joyce is a firm believer in continuous learning, and she is interested in improving the lives of older adults as well as understanding how research can positively shape and address the growing needs of the aging population. 

Mark McNeil
Mark McNeil

Mark McNeil has dealt firsthand with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for 55 of his 60+ years, and currently still lives in his own home. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario and has worked in the federal government public service sector for over 30 years. Mark has served on the Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities (ACPD) at Hamilton City Hall. He eagerly joined the Collaborative which has provided him with the opportunity to add another voice in promoting research and public policy that reflects input from many and contributes to healthy aging in an increasingly older population.

Kim Nolan
Kim Nolan

Kim Nolan has lived with secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis for over 32 years. As a mature student, she graduated in 2004 from McMaster University with combined degrees in social work, gerontology and religious studies. In 2009, Kim attained her master’s degree in social work with a focus on aging successfully with a disability. Post-graduation, Kim volunteered extensively with the City of Hamilton’s disability advisory committee and has been a member of the boards of DARTS Transit and the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton. Kim also volunteered at Macassa Lodge and with the Bob Kemp Hospice. Kim is hopeful that her educational background and life experience will be of value to the Collaborative as it develops and conducts its patient-engaged research on aging and health.

Penelope Petrie
Penelope Petrie

Penelope Petrie is a retired teacher and a lifelong learner. Penelope is a volunteer with several organizations in Hamilton and McMaster University that focus on issues impacting older adults. She joined the Collaborative because it offers several opportunities to learn about aging research, influence health policy, and promote healthy aging. Penelope’s goal is to ensure best practices are being implemented in communities in need. 

Donna Weldon
Donna Weldon

Volunteer work has always been important to Donna Weldon and engaged in several roles and activities (pre-pandemic). As much as she enjoys that work, as a retired health professional, Donna missed the opportunity to learn new things and exchange ideas with colleagues about research. The Collaborative offers her this opportunity as well as the chance to apply her knowledge, skills, and experiences to influence policy impacting older adults.