Catherine Donnelly


Catherine DonnellyDr. Catherine Donnelly is an Associate Professor at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University.  She is the the co-lead, with Dr. Vincent DePaul of the Oasis expansion project and will be representing the Oasis team.  The team includes researchers from Queen’s University, Western University and McMaster University, Oasis members and a community Board of Directors.

Catherine is an occupational therapist by background and her clinical research is focused on team-based primary care with an emphasis on understanding how interprofessional primary care teams can support older adults and individuals with chronic conditions.  Catherine is cross appointed to the Department of Family Medicine and works as an occupational therapist 1 day/week at the Queen’s Family Health Team – Belleville site.

Innovation Summary

Oasis Senior Supportive Living

Oasis Senior Supportive Living (Oasis) is a novel seniors-driven model of aging-in-place designed by seniors for seniors. Oasis seeks to support healthy aging by creating a socially connected community of seniors living in naturally occurring retirement communities, such as an apartment building or other high density environment. Oasis consists of three pillars: a communal-meal program, physical activity and exercise, and social programming. Oasis is supported by a community Board of Directors and an onsite Program Coordinator who works with members to implement programming and facilitate the navigation of community services.

Oasis seeks to integrate pre-existing community services to deliver practical support (e.g. meals, resource navigation) and social network building, both key to older adults’ health, participation and quality of life. Current community services for seniors are developed and delivered by agencies to individual seniors with little input from seniors. In contrast, Oasis is a model that empowers a community of seniors (Oasis Members), to determine what services and activities they require and to identify how best to receive these services; building self-determination of the community.

Oasis was developed by seniors and has been successfully operating in one Kingston apartment since in 2011.  Oasis is currently being expanded to six additional sites in four cities in Ontario.