NOTE: Banner images should be placed in this first content block and should be at least 720px wide.

Seniors – Adding Life to Years (SALTY) Project SALTY logo

Everyone wants to live well in their final years but this may be a challenge, particularly for people living in long term care settings. Seniors - Adding Life to Years (SALTY) is a four-year research project, developed by researchers, care providers, care administrators, policy makers and older adults and their families from across Canada. The project aims to add quality to late life for people living in long term care and for their caregivers, including family, friends, volunteers and care workers who support their care. SALTY’s research is organized into four interrelated streams: Monitor Care Practice, Map Promising Approaches to Care Relationships, Evaluate Innovative Practice, and Examine Policy Context. The project which employs diverse and multiple methods is being conducted in four Canadian provinces - British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia ans will have relevance for jurisdictions across Canada.

SALTY was developed under the direction of Dr. Janice Keefe at the lead institution, Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia.

The project is funded through a Late Life Issues grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, in partnership with Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation and Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2016 through to 2020.

Check back frequently to see updates on the progress of the project.

We're Hiring

Post Doctoral Position-Examining Policy Context 

SALTY Overall Project Leads:

KeefeScientific Lead
Janice Keefe, PhD

Director Nova Scotia Centre on Aging
Lena Isabel Jodrey Chair in Gerontology
Professor, Department of Family Studies and Gerontology
Mount Saint Vincent University,

EstabrooksScientific Co-Lead
Carole Estabrooks, PhD

Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation
Professor, Faculty of Nursing
University of Alberta,

Cook_no white frameKnowledge User Lead

Heather Cook, BScN, MScN

Director, Systemic Review and Research
Office of the Seniors Advocate, BC.



MacDonaldClinical Lead
Leah MacDonald, PhD  

Medical Director,
Home and Community Care/ End of Life Program
Island Health, British Columbia

FifieldResident and Family Lead
Heather Fifield

Family Caregiver
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

What’s the Latest News

The SALTY project has entered its fourth and final year! April 1st, 2019 marked the beginning of the fourth year for the SALTY project. While some data collection is still wrapping up, data analysis has been well underway and the first publications from project work are expected soon.

Preliminary stream findings have been shared at the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) 2018 and the Gerontologic Society of America (GSA) 2018 scientific conferences. In addition, presentations have been accepted for the joint international conference of the North American and European Networks in Aging: Trent Aging 2019, the Canadian Association of Health Policy and Research (CAHSPR) Conference and the Qualitative Analysis Conference, all in May 2019. The project will also be featured at Northwood’s 9th Annual Research Symposium in June 2019, and, the Biennial Global Aging and Canadian Hospice Palliative Care conferences both in September 2019. To find a list of all project outputs to date please visit our Results and Dissemination page.

The full SALTY team met via videoconference in February to share and discuss preliminary findings from two of our project streams (Evaluating Innovative Practice and Monitoring Care Practice) and presented a webinar on that work in April hosted by brainXchange and supported by the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

We are very excited to be hosting a full team meeting in-person here in Halifax at Mount Saint Vincent University in May 2019. This will be the last chance and opportunity for face-to-face team engagement and discussion around our work to date.

In the coming year we will be planning policy workshops across our jurisdictions to share our integrated, jurisdiction-specific findings from stream 4 policy analysis, Mapping Care Relationships stream 2 ethnographic research and stakeholder consultations to better understand tensions within policies and how these play out as the lived experience of residents and others in LTC.

Study stream activities

The Monitoring Care Practice team (stream 1) led by Dr. Carole Estabrooks and Dr. Matthias Hoben at the University of Alberta completed Delphi webinars with decision makers and SALTY and TREC Advisory Group members, and online surveys with care staff to prioritize outcomes of quality of care at end of life using RAI-MDS 2.0 data. They have presented their Delphi methodology at the Canadian Association of Gerontology (CAG) 2018 and preliminary findings on an April 2019 brainXchange webinar hosted by Alzheimer Society of Canada. Currently they are using an action project methodology to capture resident and family experiences/perspectives on symptoms and care in LTC.

Mapping Care Relationships team (stream 2) is led by Dr. Tamara Daly, Dr. Ivy Bourgeault and Dr. Katie Aubrecht. The researchers from this team have completed their fieldwork at LTC sites in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia and have started analysis on this work. Fieldwork at sites in the final jurisdiction of Alberta is planned to be finished in May 2019. Preliminary insights from their work will be presented at the joint international conference of the North American and European Networks in Aging: Trent Aging 2019 at Trent University in May 2019.

Evaluating Innovative Practice (stream 3) led by Dr. Kelli Stajduhar, Dr. Denise Cloutier and Dr. Leah MacDonald have completed their initial data analysis of the evaluation of an end of life implementation project in long term care facilities in Island Health. Preliminary findings were presented on an April 2019 brainXchange webinar hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Final drafts of four manuscripts are in the works with the first publication expected in the coming months.

Examining Policy Context (stream 4) led by Dr. Janice Keefe, Dr. Dee Taylor and Heather Cook is completing their policy analysis through the lenses of residents, care workers, family and volunteers. Preliminary findings from the comparison of long term policy across jurisdictions have been presented from the resident perspective at CAG2018 and the family/friend caregiver perspective at GSA2018. Mary Jean Hande, postdoctoral fellow will present findings from a volunteer perspective at the NANAS.ENAS Trent Aging conference in May 2019. Key informant interviews are planned to be completed prior to summer and policy workshops will be conducted in each jurisdiction in fall winter 2019/2020 to present the analysis of key policy challenges and give examples of alternative approaches from other jurisdictions.

The SALTY Trainee Network
, which has included a total of 17 postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students from across the four project streams and provinces over the course of the project, currently has 8 active trainees who continue to meet regularly to share their work and learn more about the work being conducted by the project streams. A workshop for trainees on communication and presentation to various stakeholder audiences will be held on the eve of the full team in Halifax in May.

The SALTY Advisory group, composed of a resident, family caregivers, volunteers, care aids and persons with dementia, continue to meet regularly with our research teams and trainees providing the ever important perspective and voice of those who will be most impacted by the research findings.

The SALTY KT Advisory Group composed of knowledge users and decision makers from the LTC sector from across the jurisdictions has been meeting with the SALTY Knowledge Broker and planning group for the full team in-person meeting that will be held in Halifax the end of May. The KT Advisory group will ensure our knowledge exchange, dissemination and mobilization plans align with the principles of the project’s iKT plan and that knowledge exchange is maximized across the four project streams.

Project Milestones


  • April - Project received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.
  • May - 2 project trainees participated in the 2016 CIHR Institute of Aging's Summer Program in Aging in Toronto focused on the theme of "Recognizing Frailty and Improving Care".
  • SALTY teamSeptember - First in-person team meeting – Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 18th – 20th.

  • September - Dr. Janice Keefe and Dr. Matthias Hoben presented a webinar entitled Improving End of Life care in Long term care on September 27, 2016. This was an integrated KTE webinar event by brainXchange in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). View the archived webinar here.
  • December - Meeting of Stream 4 Team to discuss policy document selection and analysis approach.
  • January - In-person meeting of Stream 1 Team to discuss data collection and other stream activities.


  • SALTY 2May - Full team meeting via video conference technology, May 9.

  • May – Dr. Katie Aubrecht presented “Seniors – Adding Life to Years: A Canadian Project Focusing on Late Life Long Term Care” poster at the Canadian Disability Studies Association 2017 conference in Toronto.
  • June - In person meeting of Stream 2 to discuss stream activities.
  • June - Stream 4 completed the policy document retrieval and coding.
  • June – “Seniors – Adding Life to Years: A Canadian Project Focusing on Late Life Long Term Care” poster displayed at Northwood Research Symposium.
  • SALTY 3July – Dr. Dee Taylor presented “Finding rabbit holes without falling in: Navigating palliative care policy in Canadian Long-term Care” poster at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) 2017 World Congress in San Francisco.

  • SALTY 4November – Dr. Janice Keefe, Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Dr. Matthias Hoben, Dr. Della Roberts and Dr. Dee Taylor hosted a NS provincial sector workshop at Mount Saint Vincent University for key decision makers and stakeholders from the Nova Scotia long term care sector.


  • January – In-person meeting of stream 1 to discuss stream activities.
  • January - Stream 2 team training in ethnographic methodology at a pilot site in Ontario.
  • SALTY 5April - meeting of team leads and knowledge user representative from each province to review progress and plan for remainder of project

  • CHASPER conferenceMay - panel presentation by stream leads at Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research Conference, Montreal

  • June – 2nd full team meeting via video conference, June 18
  • DSC_0646August – SALTY Trainees Prince Owusu and Lily Lu attended the Knowledge Mobilization Master Class at the International Federation on Aging (IFA) conference in Toronto on August 7th.

  • October – Oral presentation of the findings from the comparison of long-term care policy across project jurisdictions from a resident perspective by Dee Taylor at the Canadian Association on Gerontology Scientific Meeting
  • October – Poster presentation on the innovative method used to integrate key stakeholders in SALTY research on end-of-life in nursing homes using web-based Delphi panels by Matthias Hoben at the Canadian Association on Gerontology Scientific Meeting
    Matthias Hoben


  •  November – oral presentation by Janice Keefe at the Gerontological Society of America scientific meeting on the findings of policy differences between jurisdictions when considering family/fiend caregiver involvement in resident quality of life
  • February – full team video conference meeting to share and discuss project stream finding

  • April – BrainXchange webinar hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Canada sharing findings and insights from Monitoring Care Practice (stream 1) and Evaluating Innovative Practice (stream 3).