FREDERICTON (GNB) – A new series of applied research projects have received funding under the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project to help foster healthy aging. About $22.6 million will be allocated to 26 different research projects aimed at understanding gender impacts as well as a number of different challenges faced by seniors in New Brunswick.

“These research projects are important for our province and our country,” said Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch. “Because New Brunswick has one of the highest percentage of seniors in the country, our province is an ideal environment in which to study the needs of seniors and to research the best ways we can help them stay healthy, either in their own homes or in care facilities.”

The pilot project is a $75 million federal-provincial agreement jointly led by the departments of Social Development and Health through the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat. The main objectives are to learn through research how to foster healthy aging, increase independence and quality of life, ensure seniors are enabled to live safely and securely in their homes with appropriate support and care, and to disseminate best practices.

“Seniors want to live in their communities, and as a government, we are taking action to foster healthy aging to support seniors to stay longer in their own homes,” said federal Minister of Seniors Kamal Khera. “The Healthy Seniors Pilot Project will help us understand the unique challenges faced by seniors while increasing their independence and quality of life and ensure seniors are enabled to live safely and securely in their homes with appropriate supports and care.”

The 26 new projects have been selected 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. (four 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. (three 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. (three 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. (seven projects)
  • Create innovative care pathways to improve options, access, timeliness, and efficiencies when delivering health and social support services. (nine projects)

“Seniors want to stay active members of society and these applied research projects are aimed at improving their quality of life whether they live at home or in a care facility,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “These projects lay the groundwork for the dissemination of evidenced-based best practices in supporting healthy aging in our province and for the benefit of the whole country.”

This is the third and final series of projects to receive funding under the pilot project. Previous rounds in 2018 and 2020 involved an investment of $49.9 million towards 40 applied research projects. Funding is allocated to cover project costs as well as costs associated with research teams, technical resources, and the evaluation process.

Project proposals undergo an impartial, comprehensive review process as well as an outcome evaluation 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.