MONCTON (GNB) – The New Brunswick Aging Secretariat is accepting proposals for the first round of projects under the $75-million Healthy Seniors Pilot Project.

The project, to be carried out over three years, is intended to provide information and programs that could help improve the aging experience for seniors not only in New Brunswick but elsewhere in Canada.

“We are extremely pleased to get this important pilot project off the ground by accepting proposals,” said Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Lisa Harris. “We are always looking for innovative ways to help our seniors remain active, healthy and involved in their own communities.”

The federal government invested $75 million in this project through its 2018 budget. The funding will be directed toward a wide range of applied research initiatives to encourage healthy aging and improve the quality of life for seniors.

“The valuable research stemming from the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project will help us better support seniors in their homes, communities and care facilities, as well as find innovative ways for seniors to live life to the fullest,” said federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. “This project will not only help the people of New Brunswick live well as they age, but will also help inform approaches to improving the quality of life for seniors across the country.”

The Community Check-in Program, which is a partnership between the Canadian Red Cross and the Department of Social Development, exemplifies the type of research the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project will foster.

“Eligible seniors who may face periods of loneliness or social isolation will receive regular phone calls from a matched, trained, Red Cross volunteer,” said Bill Lawlor, provincial director of the Canadian Red Cross. “These phone calls will provide a social visit and will help to connect them to various activities in their community and encourage their participation. The Canadian Red Cross is excited to be involved in the Healthy Seniors Pilot as the research obtained from this project will be used to better the lives of seniors in New Brunswick and the rest of Canada.”

Funding under the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project will be available for government and non-governmental groups to initiate projects that will align with, support and further the implementation of the New Brunswick Aging Strategy. More information on the pilot project is available online.

Fostering healthy aging and support for seniors is one of seven pillars of the New Brunswick Family Plan, which also focuses on improving access to primary and acute care; promoting wellness; supporting people with addictions and mental health challenges; reducing poverty; supporting people with disabilities; and advancing women’s equality.