The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation
(CABHI) powered by Baycrest, is supporting innovations aimed at improving the lives of older adults, persons with dementia, and their care partners through Spark-ON
- a subsidiary of CABHI’s Spark Program
, which supports the development of grassroot solutions by frontline healthcare workers and researchers that solve real-world critical care challenges. The program acknowledges frontline care workers as uniquely positioned to address the needs of Ontario’s older adult population during the COVID-19 pandemic… and beyond.
Many of these innovations focus on helping family caregivers maintain their well-being or connect with their loved ones in a meaningful way. We’ve rounded up a few below.
VRx@Home: Virtual reality therapy for people living with dementia and their caregivers
A University Health Network
project team, led by Lora Appel (Assistant Professor at York University
) is designing and evaluating the first virtual reality (VR) therapy program for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia living at home. VR therapy is a drug-free approach to reducing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, such as apathy, feelings of loneliness, sundowning and the use of harmful sedating medications.
Supporting caregivers from ethnocultural communities
The Diverse Caregivers Access Program aims to develop, test and deliver culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate resources for caregivers of people living with dementia in various ethnocultural communities. The program, led by Stephanie Conant (Manager, Caregiver Wellness & Social Work at WoodGreen Community Services
), will increase access to affordable or free resources that are co-designed with caregiver stakeholders and frontline staff.
Virtual music therapy in long-term care during COVID-19 and beyond
This research project, led by Dr. Kate Dupuis (Schlegel Innovation Leader at the Centre for Elder Research)
introduces music therapy to virtual family visits to help residents make more meaningful connections with their loved ones, while boosting their own cognitive and emotional well-being. With funding from CABHI, the findings from this research will help create an implementation guide that can be shared with other long-term care homes and music therapists across Canada.
to learn more.