Sandra’s Keys: An Escape Room on Elder Abuse


February 18, 2022

Researchers & Collaborators:

Scott DeJong, Concordia University
Kim Sawchuk, Concordia University
Constance Lafontaine, Concordia University
Anne Caines, Respecting Elders: Communities against Abuse (RECAA)
Sarita Israel, Centre de recherche et d’expertise en gérontologie sociale (CREGÉS)


Funding name 3

Research Areas:

Older Adult Mistreatment
Game Design
Intergenerational Design
Raising Public Awareness

ACT Partners:

Concordia University
RECAA (Respecting Elders, Communities Against Abuse)
CREGES (Centre for Research and Expertise in Social Gerontology)

Sandra’s Keys is an escape room on older adult mistreatment that was co-designed by researchers, community partners, and professionals in the field of social gerontology to raise public awareness of older adult mistreatment. Escape rooms are a sub-genre of immersive problem-solving games that have become popular over the past decade among young adults. In these games, small teams of two to four individuals are invited to enter a room, where they are asked to solve puzzles and riddles together. 

Our escape room is centered on a fictional situation of older adult mistreatment that includes financial, psychological and physical mistreatment, as well as denial of rights. . The room combines environmental storytelling, puzzles and clues to form an overarching narrative to immerse participants in a messy and subtle situation of mistreatment. Based on a partnership between the ACT Lab, Respecting Elders: Communities against Abuse (RECAA), Katalizo and the Centre de recherche et d’expertise en gérontologie sociale (CREGÉS), the project uses a collaborative approach to design that is responsive to expertise of the community and social services sectors.After a successful showing of the game at the B/OLD symposium in 2019, Sandra’s Keys is now set up as for a longer-term tenure in the ACT Lab at Concordia University . 

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