Toronto Star

In­no­vat­ing for Ag­ing & Brain Health

- Dr. Al­li­son Sekuler Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, CABHI Anne Pap­mehl

Ac­cord­ing to StatsCan, more than nine mil­lion Cana­di­ans will be over 65 by 2031. Nearly one mil­lion of them will have de­men­tia — a dis­ease with a heavy eco­nomic im­pact. As of 2016, the com­bined health care and out-of-pocket care­giver costs (with many care­givers work­ing more than 100 hours per week) were es­ti­mated to be $10 bil­lion per year. By 2031, this fig­ure is ex­pected to in­crease to $16.6 bil­lion.

Cana­di­ans need ac­cess to lead­ing in­no­va­tions so that the ag­ing pop­u­la­tion can re­ceive the most ap­pro­pri­ate care to­day, and for gen­er­a­tions to come.

The Bay­crest-led Cen­tre for Ag­ing + Brain Health In­no­va­tion (CABHI) sup­ports in­no­va­tors with prod­ucts, ser­vices, and treat­ments for older adults liv­ing with de­men­tia. With the gener- ous sup­port of the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments and Bay­crest Foun­da­tion, CABHI works to­gether with its part­ners to ac­cel­er­ate the pace with which in­no­va­tions get from the re­search stage to be­ing used by older adults and care­givers in their day to day lives.

A leader in ag­ing and brain health in­no­va­tion, CABHI has de­vel­oped, tested, and val­i­dated more than 195 in­no­va­tions in its first three years. “End-users whoaretest­ing our in­no­va­tions re­port both med­i­cal and so­cial im­prove­ments in their qual­ity of life,” says Dr. Al­li­son Sekuler, CABHI’s Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor. “By bro­ker­ing re­la­tion­ships among com­pa­nies, providers, and older adults, CABHI helps in­no­va­tors gen­er­ate the ev­i­dence needed to prove th­ese in­no­va­tions workin a real-world en­vi­ron­ment and help get them to mar­ket.”

Canada’s ta­lent and as­sets in the longevity sec­tor are vast, and CABHI’s sup­port of Cana­dian in­no­va­tors cre­ates jobs and builds adop­tion ca­pac­ity. Th­ese ef­forts help to al­le­vi­ate in­creas­ing pres­sures on our health care sys­tem and help to end hall­way health care. “Our work­to­gether with our part­ners and col­lab­o­ra­tors will help build a stronger fu­ture for the ag­ing pop­u­la­tion in our coun­try and be­yond,” says Dr. Sekuler.

Mark Ross Co-founder & VP, Mind­fulGar­den

Many older adults with de­men­tia or delir­ium ex­pe­ri­ence high lev­els of anx­i­ety and ag­gres­sion which can be dis­tress­ing for them as well as their care­givers. Mind­fulGar­den is an in­ter­ac­tive ther­a­peu­tic med­i­cal de­vice that re­sponds di­rectly to voice and ges­ture by cre­at­ing en­gag­ing com­put­er­gen­er­ated im­agery that de-es­ca­lates dis­rup­tive be­hav­iours quickly, help­ing calm the in­di­vid­ual so care can be­gin sooner — with­out reliance on drugs and re­straints. With CABHI’s sup­port, we are val­i­dat­ing Mind­fulGar­den’s im­pact on re­duc­ing costs of care, im­prov­ing health out­comes, and pro­tect­ing work en­vi­ron­ments, in long-term care.

Dr. Joanne Ho Clin­i­cal Phar­ma­col­o­gist & Ge­ri­a­tri­cian

Older adults — es­pe­cially those with cog­ni­tive, med­i­cal and men­tal health chal­lenges tak­ing mul­ti­ple med­i­ca­tions — are at in­creased risk for ad­verse drug events. For clin­i­cians pre­scrib­ing med­i­ca­tions to se­niors, wait times to con­sult a spe­cial­ist can take weeks or even months. As a clin­i­cal phar­ma­col­o­gist and ge­ri­a­tri­cian, I am­work­ingto in­crease ac­cess through Ger­iMedRisk, an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary telemedici­ne-based net­work to sup­port clin­i­cians in safe pre­scrib­ing to older adult pa­tients. A re­cent eight-month clin­i­cal trial in four long-term care homes, sup­ported by CABHI, re­vealed that the ser­vice dras­ti­cally re­duced wait times to days. Tech­nol­ogy-me­di­ated aug­men­ta­tion of lo­cal health care teams with clin­i­cal geri­atric ex­per­tise — the fu­ture of ag­ing and brain health in­no­va­tions looks promis­ing.

Spencer Waugh CEO, AceAge

About 20 per­cent of nurs­ing home ad­mis­sions are linked to med­i­ca­tion non­com­pli­ance — and this can be es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing for older adults with de­men­tia and cog­ni­tive health is­sues. With CABHI’s sup­port, AceAge has de­vel­oped Karie — a de­vice that makes med­i­ca­tion man­age­ment ex­tremely sim­ple. With CABHI’s sup­port through a trial at two health care or­ga­ni­za­tions, we will be able to clin­i­cally demon­strate ad­her­ence im­prove­ments when us­ing Karie. I’m work­ing with CABHI to mea­sure ad­her­ence out­comes us­ing in­di­ca­tors such as re­duced ER vis­its and hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions. By sim­ply fol­low­ing treat­ment prop­erly, many ail­ments can be pre­vented. It’s in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing.

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