This is an image of Dr. Elaine Wiersma

Dr. Elaine Wiersma
+1 807-343-8010ext. 7250
BB 1011G
Mon-Fri 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Academic Qualifications: 

Elaine is the Director of the Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences, completing an MA and PhD from the University of Waterloo. Having spent many years working with older adults in practice and research, particularly individuals with dementia, Elaine’s research aims to tell people’s stories in ways that challenge stereotypes and misconceptions of older people, particularly persons with dementia. Advocacy, inclusion, and rights form the fundamental values underlying her work with people with dementia. Using critical qualitative methodologies, her research spans community and long-term care, exploring aging and dementia care, contexts of rural and northern communities, and quality of life issues. 

  • PhD, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (University of Waterloo, 2007)
  • MA, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (University of Waterloo, 2003)
  • Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (Brock University, 2001)
Date joined Lakehead: 
Previous Teaching/Work: 
  • GERO 4719: Advanced Seminar in Gerontology (2020, 2019)
  • GERO 5710: Research & Theory in Gerontology (2021, 2020, 2019,  2018)
  • HESC 5010: Foundations of Population and Public Health (2022)
  • HESC 5050: Health Policy 
  • HESC 5035: Qualitative Inquiry I (2016, 2013, 2012)
  • HESC 5036: Qualitative Inquiry ll (2023, 2022)
  • HESC 5210: Health Promotion and Illness Prevention (2022, 2021, 2020, 2018)
  • HESC 5211: Public Health Ethics (2016, 2015, 2013)
  • HESC 5710: Obesity Discourse in Society (2016)
  • GERO 5710: Research & Theory in Gerontology (2018)
  • HESC 5710: Aging in Rural & Northern Communities (2013)
  • HESC 5750: Women and Dementia (2017)
  • GERO 5790: Gerontology Research Seminar (2019)
Research Interests: 

My research focuses broadly on a number of areas related to aging. First,  I am interested in Alzheimer's disease and dementia, quality of life issues in dementia, and issues around the preservation of self and personhood. Research in this area includes self-management of dementia, understanding issues of dementia in rural, northern communities, and using photos to explore the experiences of living with dementia. Second, I am interested in understanding the role of place in people's experiences, particularly in rural and remote communities and in long-term care facilities. Some of my research in this area to date has focused on aging in rural northern communities, residents' experiences of long-term care, staff's experiences of long-term care, and palliative care in long-term care. Third, I am interested in research related to the social aspects of aging. Some of this research includes examining masculinity and aging.

Selected Current Past Research Projects
  •  Women with Dementia Living in the Community (in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, funded by Women's College XChange)
  • (re)Creating the Self: An Arts Program for People with Dementia (in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay Art Gallary)
  • Making Special: Living with Hope and Joy in the Midst of Dementia (Dr. Pauline Sameshima, Principal Investigator)
  • (re) Purposing: Creating a New Life with Dementia--An Arts Interpretive Project
  • Evaluating Taking Control of Our Lives--A Self-Management Program for People with Dementia (in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario)
  • Mapping the Dementia Journey: People and Pathways (in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario)
  • Developing a Self-Management Program for People Living with Dementia: Integrating Research, Care Practices, and Client Perspectives Through Partnership (funded by CIHR)
  • Developing a code of ethics and ethics framework: Using a participatory action research approach in public health
  • Self-Management of Dementia
  • The Experience of Aging in Northwestern Ontario: Economic Instability and Rural Communities (funded by SSHRC)
  • Understanding Dementia in Rural Northern Communities (funded by the Alzheimer Society of Canada Research Grants Program)
  • Photovoice and Photo-History: Visualizing Climate Change from First Nations Perspectives (funded by SSHRC) [R.H. Lemelin, PI]
  • Improving Quality of Life for People Dying in Long-Term Care Homes (funded by SSHRC-CURA [M.L. Kelley, PI]
  • Changing Policies in Long-Term Care
In the News:

June 10, 2024

Dementia support group celebrates key milestone

Founded 10 years ago, the North West Dementia Working Group continues to grow with plans for...


October 15, 2020

Lakehead’s CERAH receiving $127k to grow the...

Lakehead University’s Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health is receiving this to...