FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments announced today the 39 applied research projects that have been approved under the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project. These projects aim to support healthy aging for seniors in their homes, communities and care facilities.

“Because we have the second-highest proportion of people over the age of 65 in Canada, and a measurably higher proportion of women over 65 relative to the Canadian average, New Brunswick is an ideal environment in which to promote innovative approaches to support seniors and healthy aging,” said Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch. “The various projects approved under this initiative will help us learn more about the effects of aging on our population and the findings will benefit all jurisdictions in the country.”

Canada’s population is living longer than ever before, with people over the age of 65 now outnumbering those under 15 years of age. Fitch said the federal and provincial governments are committed to addressing the needs of this growing and diverse population and to helping Canadians live well as they age.

Launched in 2018, the initiative is managed through a grant agreement between the provincial and federal governments. It is overseen at the provincial level by the departments of Social Development and Health.

“As Canada’s population ages, we are committed to finding innovative ways for our seniors to live safely, enjoy good health and be active,” said federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

“I am confident that these projects will lead to positive impacts in the lives of seniors in New Brunswick now and in generations to come,” said Dominic LeBlanc, president of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The pilot project is aimed at supporting government and community initiatives that align with and support the efforts of New Brunswick’s Aging Strategy and other government priorities, including researchers, non-profit organizations, businesses, First Nations communities and municipalities. All submissions were subject to an evaluation and scoring process that included a review by experts from across the country.

“The provincial government is committed to encouraging innovative approaches to address the challenges faced by our aging population,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “The projects undertaken will lay the groundwork for the dissemination of evidenced-based best practices to support healthy aging for New Brunswickers.”

As of January, 39 projects were launched to support the following outcomes:

  • Improving social and physical environments to foster healthy aging by designing spaces, systems, and infrastructure to enable seniors to live independently and healthily. (seven projects)
  • Reducing health inequalities by promoting access to health and social support among those who speak a minority language, people in rural communities and seniors with specific health conditions. (nine projects)
  • Initiatives which support a healthy lifestyle, wellness, independence and a good quality of life by providing support for physical activity, nutrition, injury prevention, and mental wellness. (six projects)
  • Using supportive technologies to foster healthy aging by integrating emerging and existing technology into the range of health and social support services and equipment that seniors and /or their caregivers can use in their homes and care facilities. (five projects)
  • Create innovative care pathways to improve options, access, timeliness, and efficiencies when delivering health and social support services. (12 projects)

A list of the 39 projects is available online.

Projects funded through the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project will undergo an impartial, comprehensive process and outcome evaluation. These evaluations will be conducted by the Monitoring, Evaluation and Knowledge Transfer Unit established in partnership with the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training at the University of New Brunswick. This unit will ensure that each project has an evaluation plan and that lessons learned from the completed projects are shared across the country.

Of the $75 million dedicated to the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project, the 39 approved research projects represent an investment of $49.9 million. Funding is allocated to cover operational costs of the projects, as well as costs associated with research teams, technical resources, and evaluation processes.

The remaining funds of the pilot project will be allocated in the coming year to projects specifically dedicated to the study of aging in place.