CABHI funds over $1.9 million in latest cohort of healthcare innovations for older adults and caregivers

Older woman wearing a VR headset at home. Hands are up. Face in awe.

Investment spotlights innovations by healthcare workers and researchers across Canada

The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), powered by Baycrest, today announced funding of over $1.9 million to support the development and validation of 40 innovations aimed at improving the quality of life for older adults, people living with dementia, and caregivers.

The funding is offered through CABHI’s Spark Program, which supports the development of grassroots innovations by frontline healthcare workers and researchers to solve real-world care challenges. Spark goes beyond providing financial support by offering coaching, mentorship, and networking opportunities, guided by CABHI’s team of experts, to ensure projects are poised for success, sustainability, and maximum impact.

The latest cohort features innovation projects covering CABHI’s priority themes of caregiver support, aging in place, care coordination and navigation, and cognitive and mental health. Nearly every province and territory across Canada is represented in this cohort, underlining the geographic breadth of CABHI’s impact on the country’s seniors’ care landscape. Projects are already underway and will continue to make advancements over the coming year.

Among the funded innovations:

  • A first-of-its-kind low-cost, personalized, remotely-managed virtual reality intervention program that can improve visual perception in older adults
  • A dementia empathy training toolkit for care partners of people living with dementia
  • A soft, flexible, and stretchable tactile sensor array for the prevention of pressure injuries
  • A compact cycle ergometer to help maintain functional capacity in older adults

See the full list here.

“Through the Spark Program, CABHI accelerates homegrown innovations to support Canada’s aging population. Healthcare workers and researchers hold a wealth of knowledge on the unique challenges faced by older adults, people living with dementia, and caregivers. Yet, they don’t always see themselves as innovators or entrepreneurs,” says Dr. Allison Sekuler, President & Chief Scientist at CABHI. “The Spark Program empowers these frontline care workers to translate their insights and grassroots ideas into early-stage innovations that improve the quality of life and wellbeing of older adults at their home organizations and beyond.”

“Together, with important partners like CABHI, we will keep supporting innovations that help to improve the quality of life for older adults, people living with dementia, their families, and caregivers. Through this latest cohort of CABHI’s Spark program, there will be better support for caregivers, more support to help older adults age at home, improved care coordination and navigation, and healthier cognitive and mental health. These projects continue the implementation of Canada’s national dementia strategy to help improve the lives of so many Canadians,” said the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health.

“Ontario’s health care providers have key insights and hands-on experience that can make a powerful difference in the quality of life for older adults,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “That’s why our government is proud to support 40 innovative projects through CABHI’s Spark Program, tapping into the expertise of health care workers and researchers to ensure caregivers have the tools, resources and support they need to improve the wellbeing of their loved ones who are living with dementia.”

CABHI gratefully acknowledges the support of its funders: the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and the Government of Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada.

To learn more about CABHI’s work, visit


A solution accelerator for the aging and brain health sector, CABHI provides funding and support to innovators for the development, testing, and dissemination of the latest 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 healthcare, 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.