The technology-enabled solutions will support healthy aging across the older adult life course
AGE-WELL in collaboration with the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) is funding 17 innovative one-year research projects through the inaugural Catalyst Funding Program in Healthy Aging. The projects will drive forward the new Healthy Aging Canada collaborative with technology-enabled solutions that improve the lives of older Canadians from diverse populations.
In total, the projects involve 30 project leads and 28 trainees from 18 Canadian universities and research centres across 7 provinces. The total funding for these projects is over $800,000.
AGE-WELL and CFN established Healthy Aging Canada (HAC) in the fall of 2022 to lead and accelerate evidence-based social, healthcare, and technology research that will improve the healthy aging experience of older Canadians and their care partners.
Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Scientific Director and CEO of AGE-WELL, says: “The HAC research collaborative is founded on the belief that technology can be a powerful catalyst in extending the period of healthy aging. It is also based on the understanding that when combined with social and healthcare-focused research, technology can accelerate solutions that have a real impact on the lives of older Canadians. Through the 2023 Catalyst Funding Program in Healthy Aging, we selected projects that will lay the foundation for HAC’s mission and build upon Canada’s aging research ecosystem to transform healthy aging across the life course for older adults while addressing the specific needs of underrepresented groups.”
The 2023 Catalyst Funding Program in Healthy Aging included two special funding streams: one for projects focused on innovative ways to prevent, mitigate or reverse frailty; the other for research involving underrepresented groups.
Dr. John Muscedere, Scientific Director and CEO of CFN, says: “Frailty is a significant challenge faced by many older adults, affecting their ability to recover from illnesses or injuries and impacting their overall function and quality of life. At CFN, we recognize the need for complementary social and healthcare technology-enabled innovations to help prevent frailty and support healthy aging for all Canadians. We are pleased to support the newly funded projects under the HAC initiative, which will allow more older adults from diverse populations to age well through to end of life.”
The 17 research projects provide broad coverage of the eight AGE-WELL Challenge Areas. Each project has a strong older adult and/or caregiver engagement plan as part of the commitment to support older adults across all settings that they call home. These healthy aging projects represent a broad range of research areas, including technologies and services to better meet the needs of those living in rural and remote areas and research that will inform health policy and practice and ensure culturally appropriate delivery. Examples of the projects include:
- Virtual geriatric care for older adults living with HIV: This research project is the first step of a larger research program to co-design, implement and evaluate culturally appropriate virtual geriatric care for diverse older adults living with HIV to enhance their quality of care and overall wellbeing.
- Indigenous-friendly, technology-supported health promotion: This project will investigate Indigenous people’s health literacy and their use of digital health technology. It will also build an Indigenous-led roadmap for developing digital health approaches to support health initiatives among Indigenous seniors.
- The FUSE-for-Frailty technology-based solution for frailty prevention: The FUSE-for-Frailty technology will engage health care providers and older adults to augment an existing at-home biosensing system to provide personalized feedback that empowers older adults to self-manage daily behaviours (e.g., physical activity and sleep) to prevent frailty.
- App to improve quality of life of caregivers of people living with dementia: The project team will recruit informal caregivers of people living with dementia (ICPDs) to evaluate a newly developed app focused on providing stress management and coping strategies for ICPDs to improve their overall quality of life.
- Ethical design and practices in AgeTech research: The project aims to ensure AgeTech researchers do not overlook ethical thinking and instead incorporate it in the design and development of technology from start to finish. The goal is to help inform the development of more effective and inclusive technologies to support healthy aging.
Read the full list of research projects here.
“We received an overwhelming response to our call for proposals for the 2023 Catalyst Funding Program in Healthy Aging, which is a testament to the incredibly active, dynamic and interdisciplinary nature of this area of research,” says Dr. Mihailidis. “Healthy Aging Canada is a much-needed research collaboration that will allow Canadian researchers to work together to transform healthy aging for older adults and support their caregivers.”
Healthy Aging Canada combines AGE-WELL’s focus on developing and validating technology-based solutions for daily living and caregiving across settings with CFN’s focus on clinical, practice, and behaviour change research across the community, long-term care, palliative care, and end-of-life care settings. Read more about Healthy Aging Canada here.
AGE-WELL NCE Inc. is Canada’s Technology and Aging Network. The pan-Canadian network brings together researchers, older adults, caregivers, partner organizations and future leaders to accelerate the delivery of technology-based solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians. AGE-WELL researchers are producing technologies, services, policies and practices that improve quality of life for older adults and caregivers, and generate social and economic benefits for Canada. AGE-WELL is funded through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program. www.agewell-nce.ca
About Canadian Frailty Network:
The Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) is Canada’s sole network devoted to improving care for older Canadians living with frailty and supporting their family and friend caregivers. They do this by increasing frailty recognition and assessment; increasing evidence for decision-making and advancing evidence-based changes to care; training the next generation of clinicians and scientists; catalyzing change in Canada’s health and social care systems; and always by engaging with older adults and their care partners. CFN was launched in 2013 through the federally funded Networks of Centres of Excellence program. https://www.cfn-nce.ca/
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