Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation invests almost $1 million in development of new healthcare solutions for older adults and people living with dementia

Investment spotlights innovations by Ontario frontline healthcare workers and students 

Toronto, ON – June 16, 2021 – The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), powered by Baycrest, announced today an investment of almost $1 million in funding to support the development and validation testing of 24 new innovations aimed at improving the quality of life for older adults, people living with dementia, and their caregivers.

The funding is being leveraged through two subsidiaries of CABHI’s Spark Program, which supports the development of grassroots solutions by frontline healthcare workers and researchers to solve real-world critical care challenges. The first, Spark-ON, accelerates promising solutions by Ontario healthcare staff that address priorities amplified by COVID-19 and advance pandemic recovery, such as preventing seniors’ social isolation and infection prevention and control. The second, Spark-CU (Colleges & Universities), helps Ontario students – Canada’s future innovators – build skills and develop their innovative solutions for older adults into businesses.

Projects are already underway, and will continue to make advancements over the coming year.

Among the funded innovations:

  • A COVID-19-focused community paramedicine program to train paramedics on caring for older adults safely and effectively
  • A program that provides access to culturally sensitive resources for caregivers of people living with dementia in ethnocultural communities
  • A first-of-its-kind virtual reality therapy program for people living with dementia at home, administered by family caregivers
  • A virtual certificate course to teach basics of geriatric care to unregulated healthcare providers like aides and private companions

See the full list of funded innovations here.

“Through unique initiatives such as CABHI’s Spark Program, new and innovative research projects and technologies have the opportunity to hit the ground running and enter the frontlines at an accelerated pace to help those who need it most. By investing in CABHI, our government is not only supporting innovative projects that help stimulate the provincial economy and enhance collaboration in the aging and brain health sector, but also in improving the lives, well-being and care of Ontario’s seniors,” says Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities.

“Through our Spark Program, CABHI accelerates homegrown innovations to help Ontario’s pandemic recovery. Frontline healthcare workers know best what’s needed to meet the challenges of caring for older adults, and students bring so many novel and creative ideas to the table. But too often the innovations and IP those groups develop are stranded at the design table,” says Dr. Allison Sekuler, Managing Director, CABHI, Sandra A. Rotman Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Vice-President of Research, Baycrest. “By advancing these innovations CABHI is not only turning those ideas into real impact, but is also ensuring better health outcomes for older adults, people living with dementia, and their caregivers, the folks who have been hit hardest by COVID-19.”

CABHI gratefully acknowledges the support of its funders: the Government of Ontario, the Government of Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Baycrest Foundation.

To learn more about CABHI’s work, visit www.cabhi.com.



A solution accelerator for the aging and brain health sector, CABHI provides funding and support to innovators for the development, testing, and dissemination of new ideas and technologies that address unmet brain health and seniors’ care needs. Established in 2015, it is the result of the largest investment in brain health and aging in Canadian history. CABHI is a unique 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.

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