The McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (the Portal) is a free website for older adults, caregivers of older adults, clinicians, public health professionals, and policymakers to access evidence-based information on optimal aging (i.e., staying healthy, active, and engaged for as long as possible). The Portal was launched in 2014 by McMaster University as part of its Optimal Aging Knowledge Translation Enterprise. Financial support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative and AGE-WELL is a contributing partner.
This trusted online resource brings together research evidence about clinical, public health, and health systems and social systems questions, and presents it in various ways to convey the key messages from the research, how trustworthy it is, and how it can be acted upon.
For professionals, content in the form of scientific abstracts is available, as are email alerts that highlight new abstract additions. For citizens, the Portal takes the best available evidence on over 75 health and social topics and breaks it down into easy-to-understand language that is accessible. Citizen content is delivered through the following formats: Evidence Summaries, one- or two-page documents that describe the findings from research on a particular topic in consumer-friendly language; Blog Posts, short articles on a variety of topics addressing the health and social aspects of aging; Web Resource Ratings, links to a wide range of other online resources that have been rated for evidence-use, transparency, and usability; Hitting the Headlines, posts connecting topical issues to existing evidence on the Portal; interactive evidence-based e-Learning lessons on specific health topics; and email alerts, a one-stop-shop for new content released on the Portal every week. Citizen content helps to make sense of what the research says about exercise, nutrition, common health conditions, mental health, social issues, caregiving, and much more.
In 2017, McMaster University launched the French version of the Portal, Portail sur le Vieillissement Optimal de McMaster.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portal began, and continues, to include professional content and produce consumer-friendly citizen content related to the topic. The professional content is in the form of scientific abstracts relevant to public health, clinicians, and health systems and social systems policymaking. The citizen content is comprised of Evidence Summaries, Blog Posts, Web Resource Ratings, and Hitting the Headlines posts related to COVID-19, its impacts, and interventions to improve and maintain physical, mental, and social well-being. Moreover, where possible, information is provided within citizen content on how to more safely engage in different interventions during the pandemic and in accordance with government policies and public health guidelines. Current citizen content relevant to COVID-19 tackles topics such as social isolation, exercise, smoking, caregiving, misinformation, housing, community resilience, stigma, mental well-being, grief, panic buying, face masks, vaccine rollout, and violence against women.