Centre for Research on Aging ‘a perfect fit’ for Fondation Luc Maurice
Local media used to make a big deal out of someone turning 100. Not anymore.
In the 2011 census, centenarians were Canada’s second-fastest-growing age group, and today a 100th birthday is hardly news. That doesn’t mean the elderly are out of sight. The COVID-19 pandemic thrust them into the headlines like never before — and not in a good way.
For the Montreal-based Fondation Luc Maurice, whose mission is to improve the lives of the aged, the crisis has highlighted daily inequities the elderly face. This in turn has opened new pathways for partnerships. One of these is with engAGE, Concordia’s Centre for Research on Aging.
The pandemic “has put a spotlight on the elderly and shown how little consideration they truly have in our society,” says Matias Duque, the foundation’s executive director. “We have witnessed how our health system was ill-prepared to answer the elderly’s needs and how ageism is deeply rooted. This new-found awareness makes us hopeful for the future. Increasingly, we are seeing a number of organizations collaborating in an effort to find lasting solutions to these problems.”
Founded three years ago by Luc Maurice, whose company develops retirement residences, the foundation has been a strong supporter of university research and has so far provided $100,000 to Concordia.
“Giving is an essential part of life,” Maurice says. “I was fortunate to be born into a supportive family and was very close to my grandparents. “I owe them so much that it is only natural to want to give back. It is not a choice, it is a need! And so, I made sure to integrate this into our business model from the very beginning. Today, 20 years later, there is a foundation that has sprung from our efforts and that strives to go even further.”
Concordia attracted the foundation’s attention, Duque says, because “it is a forward-thinking university that encourages research and education with a strong communitarian focus and pragmatic approach.
“When we began discussing a potential partnership between our organizations, we very quickly realized engAGE was a perfect fit. The centre is strongly rooted in the community and looks at aging from a multidisciplinary perspective.”
“This new-found awareness makes us hopeful for the future.”