Government of Canada supports innovation through the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project in New Brunswick
Project will use virtual reality to promote healthy aging
June 26, 2019 Fredericton, New Brunswick Public Health Agency of Canada
Canada’s population is living longer than ever before, with our older adult population now outnumbering those under 15 years of age. Women make up the majority of Canadians over the age of 65. The Government of Canada is committed to addressing the needs of this growing and diverse population and helping Canadians live well as they age.
Today, Member of Parliament Matt DeCourcey, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Dorothy Shephard, New Brunswick’s Minister of Social Development, announced a second successful applicant under the Government of Canada’s three-year, $75 million investment to support the New Brunswick Healthy Seniors Pilot Project. This pilot was developed to support a range of applied research initiatives to examine how governments can better support seniors in their homes, communities and care facilities.
The Home-Based and Residence-Based Virtual Reality Training to Increase Rehabilitative Exercise in Seniors project is being led by the Bruyère Research Institute. This project will assess the impact of adding virtual reality exercises to occupational therapy or physiotherapy as part of rehabilitation programs for seniors at home and in long-term care facilities. The aim of this project is to improve health and client outcomes related to balance, reaching, stepping, coordination and strength. This project will help improve our understanding of how to support healthy aging and improve the quality of life for all Canadians.
“Seniors are the fastest growing demographic in Canada and play an integral role in our society. We are proud to support this innovative project through our funding for the New Brunswick Healthy Seniors Pilot Project, which is providing valuable insight into how we can best support healthy aging for seniors nationwide.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
“Healthy aging is a subject that touches us all. The Government of Canada is committed to improving the aging experience for seniors. Innovative approaches, such as the virtual reality tools showcased today, will play a key part in supporting healthy aging in the future. We are happy to support projects like this as we move forward with the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project.”
Member of Parliament
“Keeping seniors healthy for as long as possible is incredibly important to our government. This project will help seniors who are at home or living in one of our long-term care homes to improve their physical function and maintain their quality of life, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have.”
The Honourable Dorothy Shephard
Minister of Social Development
The findings and lessons learned from this project will help inform national solutions—providing all Canadian jurisdictions and stakeholders with a better understanding of initiatives and innovations for Canadians as they age.
In 2012, Statistics Canada forecasted that over the next 20 years New Brunswick’s population would age faster than the rest of Canada. This makes New Brunswick well suited to undertake this pilot project. The province has one of the highest populations of people over the age of 65, with a measurably higher proportion of women over 65 relative to the Canadian average.
New Brunswick offers the added capacity to explore urban, rural and remote considerations, linguistic minority communities, and Indigenous perspectives.
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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