Ontario Shores Partners in National Research Hub Improving Lives for an Aging Population

February 12, 2015

 

(Whitby, ON) February 12, 2015 – Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) is one of a number of research partners working to improve the lives of an aging population.

A member of AGE-WELL (Ageing Gracefully across Environments, Technology for Wellness, Engagement and Long Life), a new Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) for research and innovation, Ontario Shores is represented by Dr. Arlene Astell, Research Chair for the Community Management of Dementia.

"AGE-WELL is an extremely exciting venture that will benefit older Canadians and make Canada a world leader in harnessing technology to improve people’s lives. As a partner, Ontario Shores will have a role in shaping the future innovations to improve health and well-being in later life and help keep people living independently at home," said Dr. Astell said.

AGE-WELL recently received $36.6 million in Federal funding over the next five years to develop new technologies to help seniors live independently and safely at home. The announcement was made by the The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors) as part of the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program.

"Our government is committed to investing in world-class research networks, including AGE-WELL, which will develop new technologies to help seniors live independently and safely at home. These investments will improve the quality of life of Canadians and contribute to the creation of a stronger, more innovative economy and a more prosperous Canada," said Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors).

AGE-WELL will leverage the world-class expertise and facilities at universities across the country and a strong research and industry partnership network to establish Canada as a leader in the design and implementation of technology that improves the well-being of older people.

This first-time network in technology and aging, AGE-WELL, brings together 26 universities and more than 70 industry and not-for-profit organizations, including

Ontario Shores, to establish a hub of research and innovation in technology and aging.

Dr Astell will have particular responsibility for finding new ways to work with older adults, across all cultural and social groups, to assess what they need. This will include working with older adults living with changes in their abilities, such as reduced mobility or cognitive loss. Looking at how technology can best help people to adjust and cope with later life changes is a crucial part of AGE-WELL that will inform the new developments it will create.

"AGE-WELL aims to help older Canadians maintain their independence, health and quality of life through practical and affordable technologies that increase their safety and security, support their independent living, and enhance their social participation," said Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Joint Scientific Director of AGE-WELL and the Barbara G. Stymiest Chair in Rehabilitation Technology at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network and the University of Toronto.

The AGE-WELL research plan includes an integrated set of eight themes organized by three overarching questions:

1) What are the needs of older adults and caregivers and how can technology be used to meet those needs?

2) What technology-based systems and services should be used to enhance the health and well-being of older adults and support independent living?

3) How can innovation be fostered in the short-and long-term to benefit older adults, health care providers and Canadian industry?

In addition to studying the ethical, policy and regulatory issues associated with new technologies, AGE-WELL will also tackle early stage funding, entrepreneurship training and other commercialization challenges.

About Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences:

Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) is a leader in mental health care, providing a range of specialized assessments and treatment services for people living with complex mental illness. Patients benefit from a recovery-oriented environment of care, built on compassion, inspiration and hope. Ontario Shores engages in research, education and advocacy initiatives to advance the mental health care system.

About AGE-WELL NCE Inc

AGE-WELL NCE Inc. is a pan-Canadian network of industry, non-profit organizations, government, care providers, caregivers, end-users, and academic partners working together using high-quality research to drive innovation and create technologies and services that benefit older adults. Our vision is to harness and build upon the potential of emerging and advanced technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), e-health, information communication technologies (ICTs), and mobile technologies to stimulate technological, social, and policy innovation. Toronto Rehab, University Health Network is the AGE-WELL host institution. AGE-WELL has two core facilities: Toronto Rehab’s iDAPT Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Simon Fraser University’s IRMACS Centre.

For more information, please contact:

Chris Bovie
Community Relations Officer
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
905-430-4055 <ext. <br="" 6574=""> Cell: 905-995-2443
boviec@ontarioshores.ca</ext.>