Nursing homes invited to be part of new community services for seniors15 November 2022
SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The operators of all 71 nursing homes in the province have been invited to express their interest in joining the Nursing Homes Without Walls program, which extends some of their services to seniors still living at home.
The program began as a pilot project in four locations in southeastern New Brunswick and the Acadian Peninsula, funded under a federal-provincial initiative, the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project. The government later announced the program would expand to 16 locations by 2023; eight sites will offer it next spring, and eight more will join next fall.
“We are actively working on transforming services to seniors in our province,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. “The Nursing Homes Without Walls project is a good example of the new community services for seniors that we want to establish in different regions of the province so they will have access to the health and social support they need to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible.”
The concept, unique to New Brunswick, was developed by the Research Centre on Aging at the Université de Moncton.
“I am thrilled that additional nursing homes and communities will benefit from the successes of Nursing Homes Without Walls,” said Suzanne Dupuis-Blanchard, the centre’s director. “The program is flexible in order to meet local needs with no duplication of services. Older adults want to remain in their home and the Nursing Home Without Walls pilot project has allowed many to access the supports and social activities needed for healthy aging and quality of life.”
Selected nursing homes will implement the program by using existing community infrastructure, providing additional resources, extending expertise and services, and making more older people aware of their existing services.
Services offered through the program could include:
- Guidance and accompaniment to access community support or services.
- Transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping and social outings using a nursing home’s minibus.
- Friendly check-in calls and in-person social visits.
- Use of a nursing home’s bath facilities and specialized equipment, along with socialization, a meal and/or some take-home meals.
- Intergenerational initiatives between students and seniors (for example, a letter exchange with elementary school students or a meal and social visit with university students).
- Social health initiatives, such as a healthy aging information session followed by a meal or afternoon tea.
“Seniors want to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible, but many are unable to do so due to lack of access to services or opportunities for healthy aging,” said Shephard. “Expanding the Nursing Homes Without Walls model, using existing infrastructure within communities, providing additional resources, and extending their expertise to older people in the local community, will support aging in place.”