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Seniors Calling ~ Investing in Brain Health

Seniors Calling ~ Investing in Brain Health

Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation

NORTHERN, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~   July 16, 2021  (LSNEWS) August 3, 2021  (LSNEWS)  Remember back in January, February of 2020 ~ The Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation was established in 2015 through federal funding of 124 million. It is the result of the largest investment in aging and brain health in Canadian history and one of the largest investments of its kind in the world.

In March, 2021, The Ontario government announced it was investing $23.5 million over five years to help the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), powered by Baycrest, improve the quality of life for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The funding will support innovative research and programs to help seniors with brain health related issues live at home longer and reduce the cost of care delivery.

“Ontario’s research organizations are at the forefront of discoveries that advance knowledge, drive progress and create a better future for the people of Ontario,” stated former Minister of Colleges and Universities, Ross Romano. MPP Romano's portfolio changed in June, 2021 to Minister of Government and Consumer Services.

 “By providing funding to CABHI, we are supporting innovative research and programs that can help our aging population deal with brain health related issues, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Ontario’s investment will also address challenges that have arisen for seniors and their caregivers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including social isolation, increased caregiver stress, and difficulty maintaining seniors’ cognitive, mental and physical health.

CABHI’s research and commercialization mandate also supports promising innovations that are ready to grow and move beyond their initial pilot projects. It will also help researchers scale up and bring healthcare technologies for older adults and those with dementia to domestic and international markets.

“CABHI is proud to continue its close collaboration with Ontario, and to formalize our ties with the provincial research sector through this new partnership with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities,” said Dr. Allison Sekuler, Managing Director, CABHI.

Dr. Sekuler is the Sandra A. Rotman Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Vice-President of Research, Baycrest.

“CABHI’s vision – to help older people live their best possible lives – has only grown more important during the pandemic. The Ontario government’s investment expands our ability to meet older adults’ needs for improved care and quality of life and helps ensure Ontario companies grow, prosper, and help rebuild the post-pandemic economy".

The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation is a collaboration of health care, science, industry, not-for-profit and government partners whose aim is to help improve quality of life for the world’s aging population, allowing older adults to age safely in the setting of their choice while maintaining their cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being.

“The combined efforts of government, healthcare providers and innovators are needed to re-imagine how we support older adults at every point on their aging journey,” said Dr. William Reichman, President and CEO of Baycrest. “Together, we will realize improved quality of life and other essential benefits such as managed care delivery costs and growth opportunities for Ontario-based researchers and entrepreneurs.”

In a media release, the Ontario government stated that the investment  is further prioritizing intellectual property creation, protection and commercialization that will benefit Ontario’s researchers, entrepreneurs, seniors and caregivers for years to come.

The investment will potentially aid in stimulating the province’s economy and supporting COVID-19 recovery efforts, by creating new jobs, technologies and products, as well as enhancing collaboration in the aging and brain health sector.

In 2019, 2.5 million seniors aged 65 and over lived in Ontario, accounting for 17 per cent of the province’s population. By 2046, Ontario’s population of seniors is expected to almost double to 4.5 million.

In Ontario, over 240,000 people live with dementia, and this number is expected to grow as the population continues to age. A significant percentage of the senior population wish to stay in their homes ~ to continue to age in their own surroundings. By 2038, it is estimated that the number of Ontario citizens living with dementia will rise to 430,000

In the 2020 Budget, the Ontario government unveiled a new Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit for 2021. The tax credit will provide seniors a 25 per cent credit on eligible renovations of up to $10,000 regardless of their incomes, to help make their homes safer and more accessible.

Combating stigma associated with dementia is an important component of living well. A lack of awareness and understanding, including not knowing the possible signs and symptoms of dementia contributes to the stigma experienced by people living with dementia.

Rather than focusing on abilities and promoting the physical and mental health of people living with dementia, stigma often reduces people to a series of labels and behaviours.

These can lead to false assumptions or negative stereotypes, such as a person not being capable of making care decisions or meaningful contributions to their community. Stigma can contribute to social isolation ~ And social isolation further exacerbates decline in mental health and well being.

Nutrition and exercising ~ including memory exercises ~ can boost the brains ability to combat memory loss.

Brain health refers to how well a person's brain functions across several areas. Aspects of brain health include:

  • Cognitive health - how well a person thinks, learns and remembers.
  • Motor function - how well a person makes and controls movements, including balance.
  • Emotional function - how well a person interprets and rsponds to emotions ~ both pleasant and unpleasant.
  • Tactile function - how well a person feels and responds to sensations of touch - including pressure, pain and temperature.

 

Northern Ontario 
Kenora, Rainy River, Dryden, Thunder Bay, Terrace Bay Marathon, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, North Bay, Ontario 

Previous Seniors Calling columns can be found in our 
Health Section 

#LSN_Health #LSN_Sudbury #LSN_SSM #LSN_TBay

Shades of North


Lynne Brown 
Lynne Brown

Algoma writer and reporter. Has written for special editions Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal ~ freelance contributor to Anishinabek News, Lake Superior News. Former Content Director Superior Media. Lynne developed 'Seniors Calling' as a regular feature for various publications. In the 80’s, Lynne worked for AutoTrader Magazine in rural Southwestern Ont. Trudging through a farmers’ field for a picture of a 56 Dodge Custom Royal was considered a very good day.

Lynne is mom to Kyle and Benjamin and a former resident of rural Thunder Bay. 

Special interests include issues relating to rural life, seniors, travel, history, community development and indigenous peoples. @dlynnebrown on twitter 

Disclaimer
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Lake Superior News / Lake Superior Media.

Categories: OntarioHealth
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