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A how-to guide for starting an Oasis program in your community!


Oasis is a senior-driven approach to aging in place that exists in a naturally occurring retirement community. In 2010, a group of older adults in an apartment building in Kingston, Ontario, Canada began self-organizing a promoting a program within their building for tenants who were looking for activities and services onsite. With time, Oasis was funded and hired an Onsite Coordinator who assist with organizing daily activities. Activities are determined and led by Oasis members, but broadly fall into three categories: social activities, physical activity, and nutrition-related activities.

In 2018, Queen’s University partnered with Oasis, as well as Western and McMaster Universities, to evaluate and expand the Oasis program to six new sites across the province of Ontario. The following manual details the steps our research team took to develop and implement Oasis in these new sites.

While we have listed the objectives in chronological order, it is important to note that in fact, many objectives were being completed simultaneously. Our primary objective was to launch Oasis programs in each identified building by the start of 2019. Thus, in some cases we began engaging with residents while space modifications were taking place so as not to lose momentum. However, for the purpose of this handbook, we have tried to lay steps out in a logical manner as to how one would begin to create a new Oasis site.

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