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Issue 17: Initiatives for Healthy Aging in Canada

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Context and Policy Issues

In 2008, seniors over the age of 65 accounted for 44% of all provincial and territorial government health expenditures in Canada.1 It is estimated that the annual cost for fall-related injuries in seniors over the age of 65 years in Canada is approximately $2.8 billion.2  Falls cause more than 90% of all hip fractures in seniors and 20% die within a year of the fracture.3 The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that a 20% reduction in falls could result in 7,500 fewer hospitalizations,1,800 fewer permanently disabled seniors, and an annual national savings of $138 million.4

Canada's Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors launched a national framework in 1994 to help plan and guide policies and programs to respond to the needs of an aging population.5 The framework was developed after a series of consultations were completed with seniors, seniors' organizations, and government officials across Canada. In 2005, five key focus areas were identified, based on their impact on seniors' health, the availability and effectiveness of interventions, the costs associated with treatment, and the potential to reduce health inequities. The areas of focus were: social connectedness, physical activity, healthy eating, falls prevention, and tobacco control.

It has been reported that initiatives that encourage and support all aspects of healthy aging lead to greater health, security, and independence in seniors. These initiatives also reduce the demand for health care and other support services.5 Given the anticipated increase in the seniors' population, the role of healthy aging interventions to assist seniors living in the community has become more apparent.

Objectives

The purpose of this report is to provide a general overview of regional health authority and other local level frameworks, initiatives, programs, and/or strategies developed to support healthy aging. The focus of this report is on strategies related to social connected-ness, physical activity, healthy eating, falls prevention, and tobacco control specifically tailored to the senior population.

Findings

It is not intended that the findings of this environmental scan provide a comprehensive review of the topic. The results of this report are based on a limited search of federal, provincial, territorial, and health region websites and personal communications with Canadian health care officials. This report is based on information gathered as of February 1, 2011.

A sample of programs and initiatives identified at the local level to support healthy aging are summarized in this report. Table 1 presents the details of specific programs. No structured frameworks were identified at the regional health authority or local levels.

British Columbia

Several provincial initiatives are currently underway to support the prevention of falls in seniors.6 One such initiative is the Strategies and Actions for Independent Living (SAIL) falls prevention project, a provincial program designed to promote the safety and independence of older adults living in the community and receiving home support services. The project consists of a training program for community health workers and home health professionals, accompanied by a monitored, multifactorial, evidence-based intervention strategy. SAIL is currently being implemented in all five of British Columbia's regional health authorities.

The Osteofit program is an exercise intervention and falls prevention initiative supported by the BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre and the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association.7 The program was developed in consultation with clinical specialists to improve strength, balance, and coordination (as well as functional ability, independence, and quality of life) for those with osteoporosis and osteopenia, and for those at risk of falling. Osteofit classes are offered in many local community recreation facilities and seniors' centres across British Columbia.  

Day programs are available within the regional health authorities to provide a range of supportive group programs. Other programs to support healthy aging include falls prevention clinics and one-on-one visiting programs. Northern Health is funding an injury prevention grant stream to support the implementation of evidence-based programs aimed at preventing falls among seniors in the community and residential care facilities.8

Alberta

A wide variety of community programs and services are offered through Alberta Health Services to promote healthy lifestyles, social interaction, and falls prevention in seniors. Programs for seniors disadvantaged by physical ability or income level are also available. Day support programs and day hospitals provide group programs for social or recreational activities that seniors can attend as an  alternative to admission to an acute care hospital or long-term facility. Alberta Health Services also supports Active Independence: The Home Support Exercise Program.9 The program was developed through a partnership with the Alberta Centre for Active Living and the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, and is geared to frail seniors in day programs or integrated home living who cannot access other community programs. The program is built upon evidence-based physical activity and healthy eating interventions.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is currently developing a Seniors' Care Strategy, which is expected to provide a framework for enhanced programs and services, including those for healthy aging, over the next five to 10 years. 

Several initiatives for falls prevention are currently underway in Saskatchewan.10 One example is One Step Ahead, a regional falls prevention strategy developed by the Five Hills Health Region. Action teams are working with seniors and intersectoral partners to implement evidence-based activities that reduce fall-related injuries and hospitalizations. These include presentations, exercise programs, and community tours with municipal leads to identify fall hazards in the city.

Manitoba

The Age-Friendly Initiative led by the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat was launched in February 2008 to support seniors to lead active, socially engaged, independent lives.11 

The initiative is community-driven and 66 communities from across Manitoba have joined to date. The initiative is partnered with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, seniors organizations, the University of Manitoba's Centre on Aging, community leaders, faith leaders, service providers, and public officials.

The Healthy Aging Strategy - a component of the Age-Friendly Initiative - supports efforts to address the many determinants of healthy aging, such as active living, social connectedness, healthy eating, and falls prevention.12 The Active Living Coalition for Older Adults in Manitoba (ALCOA-MB) is a key partner in the Healthy Aging Strategy.13  Through a peer-led speakers' bureau and peer-led fitness programs, ALCOA-MB engages older adults in health promotion strategies and promotes healthy lifestyles. The ALCOA-MB organizes an Active Aging Week during October (Seniors' and Elders' Month in Manitoba). An essential component of the all of the programs are the peer leaders who volunteer their time to be trained and to lead exercise classes, walking programs, and make presentations.

Community-based programs for seniors are offered within the different regional health authorities to maintain health, well-being, and independence in the community. Based on the needs of the community, a wide range of support services have been developed, such as exercise programs, congregate meals, volunteer opportunities, and social events. Day hospitals in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority also offer places for seniors to gather for healthy meals and other health promotion activities including falls and injury prevention, physical activity, and smoking cessation.

Ontario

In August 2007, the government of Ontario launched the Aging at Home Strategy, an initiative designed to allow seniors to live healthy, independent lives in their own homes.14 The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care allocated $702 million in funding over three years (2008/2009 to 2010/2011) to the province's 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) to enhance home care and community support services.15 Each LHIN is engaging their community to develop a plan, within their funding allocation, to achieve an integrated system of community-based services.

Nova Scotia

In 2008, the Department of Seniors launched the Positive Aging Fund.16 The fund assists non-profit community organizations in creating projects that advance the implementation of the goals outlined in Nova Scotia's Strategy for Positive Aging, with a focus on health, well-being, and community participation. Successful applications receive grants of up to $10,000.

The Connecting Seniors to Active Living Project is an initiative led by Recreation

Nova Scotia and supported by the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection and the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors.17 The project has laid the groundwork for improving active living and physical activity levels of older adults in Nova Scotia. The report includes successful components of physical activity interventions and programs for older adults.

Preventing Falls Together is a program of Community Links funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection.18 The purpose of the program is to reduce the number and impact of falls among seniors in Nova Scotia. The program works to build the capacity of organizations working with seniors to make falls prevention part of their policies, programs, and activities.18  This is accomplished through the development of regional coalitions with government, health promotion agencies, businesses, and community volunteers.

Multidisciplinary health professional teams provide clinics in the various regional health authorities, with strategies to promote healthy aging, falls prevention, and independence for seniors living in the community. In addition, a wide variety of programs and social events are provided by seniors' councils, seniors' clubs, senior centres, and day programs across the province 19,20

New Brunswick

The Healthy Active Living Program is a peer-led program that provides assistance to seniors in making informed choices about their health and well-being.21 The program is funded by the Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport and the Department of Social Development, and has been operating since 1993. To date, over 7,577 workshops have been delivered in over 4,125 communities across New Brunswick.

The Third Age Centre is an autonomous, community-based, non-profit organization, housed at St. Thomas University. This centre maintains close links with local, regional, and national organizations,22 and works to empower older adults to maintain healthy, independent, active lifestyles. The mandate of the centre is to engage in research and public education on seniors' issues, and to act as an advocate on behalf of seniors.

Community-based day programs across the province provide social and recreational activities, healthy meals, and education on healthy living.

Prince Edward Island

The Department of Social Services and Seniors offers day programs to provide social activities, exercise classes, and educational courses to seniors living in the community. The Department of Community Services, Seniors and Labour provides grant funding to the PEI Senior Citizens' Federation to administer the Friendly Visitor Program that links homebound seniors to senior volunteer visitors. Various community-based seniors' clubs are also available throughout the province for social and physical activities.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Age-Friendly Newfoundland and Labrador Grants Program is currently providing funding to seniors' organizations throughout the province to support the development of projects that contribute to age-friendly communities.23 Successful organizations will receive grants of up to $10,000.

The Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador is a not-for-profit, charitable organization.24 Through the provision of information, and various programs and services, the Seniors Resource Centre promotes the independence and well-being of seniors in communities around the province.

The Eastern Health Regional Health Promotion plan includes healthy aging as one of the priorities for 2008 to 2011.25 Key actions include the representation of seniors on Regional Wellness Coalitions and supporting healthy eating, physical activity, smoking cessation, falls prevention, and social connectedness. Similarly, Western Health has included healthy aging in its strategic plan for 2008 to 2011.26 By March 2011, the region will have implemented programs and services that support the Provincial Healthy Aging Framework including the initiation of a falls prevention program in long-term care facilities.27 A healthy aging calendar was recently launched to celebrate seniors from the western region who exemplify healthy aging.28

Yukon

A seniors' healthy aging strategy is currently being developed in the Yukon. The Department of Health and Social Services has consultants within the health promotion unit who are involved with smoking cessation and healthy eating activities. Historically, these programs have focused on younger populations, but in the last year capacity has been built to offer these services to seniors. In addition, a falls prevention program has recently been developed in partnership with the home care program for seniors. Seniors groups can access funds through the Community Development Fund to support further health promotion programs and initiatives.29

The Department of Community Services funds the Elder Active Recreation Association and the Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon, which coordinate and subsidize local and national recreational opportunities such as the Canada Senior Games. Various senior centres organize activities for socialization, such as bingo, tai chi classes, and line dancing.30

Table 1: Healthy Aging Programs and Initiatives in Canada

Health Region, Department, or Organization

Programs

British Columbia

Northern Health

Adult Day Programs

Provide supportive group programs and health services that assist with activities of daily living and give seniors an opportunity to be more involved in their communities.31

Vancouver Island Health Authority

Adult Day Services

Provide socialization and the opportunity for seniors to stay connected to the community through therapeutic and recreational activities.32

Vancouver Coastal Health

Adult Day Programs

Provide a range of health, social stimulation, and therapeutic recreational programs in supportive group settings to seniors. Services also include health status monitoring, coordination of medical appointments, and health education.33

One-on-One Visiting Program

Trained volunteers provide weekly one-on-one visits to homebound seniors. The program offers companionship and social interaction to promote the independence and well-being of seniors living in their own home, especially those who are frail or socially isolated. Services include a soup lunch, board games, and chair exercises, followed by a tea- and-cookies social.33 

 

Falls Prevention Clinic and Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver General Hospital

The clinic aims to improve patient quality of life and reduce falls and fractures by offering falls risk assessment, comprehensive assessment by a geriatrician, and evidence-based home exercise. The clinic is available to seniors over the age of 70 years living in the community who have had at least one fall in the last 12 months.34

Fraser Health

Adult Day Programs

Offer a range of activities in a safe and caring social environment to help seniors live at home as independently as possible. Services include therapeutic recreation activities and social activities, such as discussion groups, entertainment, crafts, and lunch. 

Falls and Injury Prevention Mobile Clinics

The falls prevention mobile clinic provides an opportunity for seniors over the age of 55 years who have experienced at least one fall in the last year to attend information and education sessions provided by a team of health professionals.

Specialized Seniors’ Clinics

The clinics provide comprehensive screening, assessment, treatment, care planning, and education to seniors over the age of 65. The clinic staff have specialized skills and knowledge to treat the wide variety of geriatric health problems including reducing the risk of falls.35

Alberta

Alberta Health Services

Day Hospital Services

Provide comprehensive assessments for older adults living in the community to support mobility and falls prevention, communication and social connections, and provide referral to appropriate community programs and services.36

Adult Day Support Programs

Program services include recreation and leisure activities, socialization and peer support, and nutritious meals.36

Seniors’ Health Clinics

A team of Registered Nurses and Occupational Therapists provide support to seniors over the age of 55 years who live independently in the community. Programs and services focus on promoting health, and disease and injury prevention.36  

 

Walking to Wellness Exercise Class

An exercise class for seniors who are medically stable and not at risk of falling. The target group includes seniors who are overweight, de-conditioned, diabetic, or arthritic. The classes incorporate a variety of exercises to improve strength and mobility.36

 

Senior’s Balance and Conditioning Program

An exercise class specifically for seniors over the age of 65 who live at home and are at risk of falling. The class focuses on strength and balance training, and falls prevention education.36

 

Steady As You Go (SAYGO) Program

An education program for seniors over the age of 65 led by community volunteer peer facilitators to prevent fall-related injuries and identify fall-related risk factors within the community. SAYGO #1 is a two-part exercise and education program for seniors who are healthy and living independently in the community. SAYGO #2 is tailored for the frailer senior population.36

Active Anytime Anywhere

A health promotion initiative whose primary focus is to improve and sustain vitality and quality of life for low-income (less than $39,000 annual household income) older adults over the age of 55 years. Group exercise sessions and health education presentations are provided to older adults living in one of the older adult-subsidized housing sites in the surrounding community or one of the selected designated assisted living facilities.36  

Move ‘n Mingle Exercise Program

The program was developed as a partnership between Alberta Health Services (Healthy Aging Team), City of Calgary Parks and Recreation, and managers at facilities and community sites. The program provides exercises classes that improve strength and balance and prevent falls for “at risk” seniors, as well as the opportunity for social networking. The program is led by a certified older adult fitness instructor at seniors' apartments and various community sites twice a week. Monthly talks on falls prevention are also provided. The program is available to seniors over the age of 65 living in or accessing subsidized housing (congregate or affordable housing) and those in the community disadvantaged by culture, language, or isolation.36 

Active Independence: Home Support Exercise Program (HSEP) in Alberta

This project provides an evidence-based exercise and healthy eating program for frail seniors who live in Alberta communities. It has been successfully implemented across Alberta over the last three years in community services such as home care, lodges, or day program services. The program consists of 10 basic exercises and seven healthy eating tips.9

Saskatchewan

Saskatoon Health Region

Geriatric Day Program

Seniors receive a comprehensive geriatric assessment including the identification of falls risk factors.37

Forever…in motion

The program is a partnership between the City of Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan, ParticipACTION, and the Saskatoon Health Region. The program focuses on issues that relate to older adults and physical activity. Activities include endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility components.10

Meri Misfits

A seniors’ acting group who present information on falls prevention through informal performances to seniors mostly living in residential complexes.10

Public Health Services, Older Adult Wellness

Health promotion presentations on falls prevention, osteoporosis, and other health-related topics are given to seniors living in the community. The program’s facilitators display at health fairs, write newspaper articles, and participate in the Saskatoon Falls Prevention Consortium and the Saskatchewan Falls Injury Prevention Strategy.10

Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region

Seniors’ Healthy Living Program

The program promotes healthy lifestyles in seniors. Two public health nurses provide information to seniors, allowing them to make informed choices. They also provide some telephone counselling and referrals, alerting seniors to the support mechanisms in their community.38

Positive Steps Fall Prevention and Exercise Program

Developed by the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region and the Dr. Paul Schwann Centre at the University of Regina to introduce older adults to an exercise program to prevent falls.39

 

Maintaining Independence: Wellness and Fall Prevention Clinic

A pilot project aimed at increasing awareness, knowledge, and behaviours related to falls and injury prevention in urban community-dwelling older adults.10

Manitoba

Active Living Coalition for Older Adults in Manitoba (ALCOA-MB)

Steppin' Up with Confidence and Steppin’ Out with Confidence Programs

Developed in 2003 as a partnership with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Reh-fit Centre, University of Manitoba, Manitoba Fitness Council, Manitoba Association on Gerontology, and the Active Living Coalition for Older Adults in Manitoba. Both are peer-led exercise and walking programs offered within or near seniors’ apartment complexes or homes to support the development of social networks within the community areas. 

Presentations

Peer leaders make presentations to seniors’ groups on a variety of topics covering the essential aspects of healthy living for older adults including healthy eating, injury prevention, physical activity, and smoking cessation.

 

Rural Program

The program provides public education regarding the health benefits of active living for older adults in 10 rural communities in Manitoba and is developing a community-based plan for ongoing activities that facilitate the participation, independence, and contribution of older adults in the community. 13

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

Rehabilitation and Geriatrics Program

Four geriatric day hospitals in Winnipeg (Deer Lodge Centre, Riverview Health Centre, Seven Oaks General Hospital, and St. Boniface General Hospital) offer a place for seniors to gather for healthy meals and recreation and other health promotion activities, such as falls and injury prevention, physical activity, and smoking cessation. 41 

 

Program of Integrated Managed-care of the Elderly (PRIME)

Located at Deer Lodge Centre, the program is designed to maintain independent community living in adults 65 years or older who have multiple health problems that need a moderate degree of monitoring the coordination of professional services. Services include health and exercise programs, health and wellness education, and social activities, with transportation and lunch provided.42

 

Healthy Aging Resource Teams

A group of community health care professionals who provide a wide range of health services including sessions on nutrition, injury prevention, and physical activity, and social groups such as cooking and walking clubs for adults over the age of 55.40 

Senior Centres

Community centres offer accessible and affordable services and programs including exercise programs, health promotion, volunteer opportunities, and nutrition education.40

Manitoba Association of Multi-Purpose Senior Centres

The association promotes healthy, independent living by offering programs that stimulate the mind, body, and spirit.40

Community Resource Councils

Not-for-profit organizations provide a variety of services to seniors based on identified needs, including a daily phone call to individuals to ensure well-being. The organization also gives presentations on a variety of topics including safety.40

Congregate Meal Program

Provides nutritious meals in a social setting, such as an apartment block or senior centre, three to five days a week.40

Assiniboine Regional Health Authority

Congregate Meal Program

A community-based meal service that makes it possible for seniors to enjoy well-balanced, affordable meals, three to five days per week in a social setting.  

Community Resource Councils

Non-profit organizations help seniors access support services to maintain an independent and healthy lifestyle in the community.43

Burntwood Regional Health Authority

Exercise for Older Adults Program

Initiated in October 2007, the program offers community-based exercise sessions for older adults three times a week.

Seniors and Elders Events

Events designed to give seniors the opportunity to socialize (e.g., Senior's Gala and Halloween Bash). Nutritious food, along with health messages, is provided to those in attendance. 

Seniors Resource Council

Helps seniors access resources to maintain an independent and healthy lifestyle in the community, and provides volunteer opportunities, healthy lifestyle programs, and friendly visitors.

Congregate Meal Program

Community-based nutritional meals are provided to encourage socialization by bringing seniors and elders together.44

Interlake Regional Health Authority

Adult Day Programs

Enable older adults to enjoy recreational activities away from home in programs designed for fun, fitness, and social activity.

Multi-Purpose Senior Centres

Designed to assist communities in the development of senior support services that support seniors’ independence in the community. 

Seniors Resource Councils

Provides a variety of services to help seniors maintain an independent and healthy lifestyle in the community, as well as volunteer opportunities, healthy lifestyle programs, support groups, and friendly visitors.

Congregate Meal Program

Provides meals to seniors in a social environment.45

North Eastman Health Authority

Seniors Resource Councils

Provide a variety of services including personal supports, outreach, support groups, volunteer opportunities, and health and wellness events and referrals.

Congregate Meal Program

Community-based nutritional meals are provided in a setting that promotes social interaction in a supportive environment three to five days a week.46

South Eastman Health Authority

Services to Seniors Program

A community development program that provides programming support and funding to community-based, non-profit organizations who deliver services to seniors.

The regional health authority supports six main programs. Four of the programs receive funding and include support services initiatives, congregate meal programs, and adult day programs at multipurpose seniors’ centres. Two health promotion programs (seniors’ clubs or drop-in centres and health promotion activities) are supported by the health authority but do not receive funding.47

Ontario

Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)

Falls Prevention Program

Provides seniors with education and workshops focused on prevention to reduce the incidence of falls.

Congregate Dining

This program increases the number of dining programs available to the Aamjiwnaang First Nations elderly and provides educational sessions for improving health.

Lets Talk Wellness

A health promotion and illness prevention program providing education in group or one-on-one sessions.48

Hamilton Niagra Haldimand Brant LHIN

Travelling Falls Prevention Clinic

Expansion of existing falls prevention clinics in Hamilton to Haldimand, Norfolk, Brant, Burlington, and Niagara. A mobile clinic will be available on a rotating basis one day a month.

Niagara Hindu Samaj Seniors Gathering  

A bimonthly, culturally appropriate congregate dining program for South Asian seniors living in Niagara.49

Central LHIN

Integration Wellness and Prevention

Provides health promotion and wellness programs to underserved immigrant seniors who are predominantly South Asian.

Unit in Diversity: Aging at Home

Mobile adult day program for seniors from the Asian, South Asian, Spanish, Caribbean, and East African communities in York West.

Increasing Community Support in Rural Areas

Expansion of community-based support services to seniors in rural and underserved areas. Services include wellness programs, education, meals-on-wheels, transportation, social visiting, and safety. 

Preventing Falls in the Community

A Central LHIN-wide falls prevention program for high-risk populations.50

Waterloo Wellington LHIN

Seniors Centre for Excellence

This program provides seniors with access to transportation, preventive care, friendly visits, exercise programs, social and recreation programs, and one-on-one support programs and services.

Connections for Healthy Aging

The activity centre provides comprehensive fitness and physiotherapy, and advice on dietary needs. The centre has a warm-water therapy pool, a bowling alley, a woodworking shop, and a fitness and exercise room.51 

Champlain LHIN

Integrated Falls Prevention

A community-based initiative that works with seniors, health services, and community agencies to reduce the number of falls and their impact on seniors, caregivers, and the health care system.

Active Living Programs/House Calls  

Drop-in centre programs for seniors, mobile medical clinics for frail seniors, congregate dining, friendly home visiting and telephone calls, and outreach to connect isolated seniors.

Aging in Place

Provides a comprehensive and highly integrated program of services, including health promotion and community support services, to allow at-risk seniors to remain in their homes.52

Nova Scotia

Capital Health

Falls Clinic

Available to seniors over the age of 65 of who have fallen or have mobility and balance difficulties. Professionals will assess senior’s overall heath, the risk factors involved in falling, home safety, walking aids, footwear and foot care, and home support to prevent future falls.

 

Geriatric Day Hospital

The Day Hospital provides short-term rehabilitative and other services to help the elderly reach a higher level of function or maintain their present levels so that they can stay in their homes.

Friendly Visiting/Security Checks

A program for isolated seniors that provides socialization and assistance, with regular tasks to ensure well-being.

Day Programs

Caters to the cultural needs of First Nations seniors and offers educational sessions for improving health.53

South Shore Health

Seniors' Community Health Team

A group of community-based health care professionals with specialized knowledge in the care of the elderly. The service is available to South Shore seniors living at home. The team conducts comprehensive in-home assessments, provides education to seniors and their families, and recommends appropriate interventions that enable seniors to remain in their homes and communities as long as possible. By promoting health and safety, the team supports healthy aging and independence.54

Colchester East Hants Health Authority

Seniors’ Clinics

Available to seniors over the age of 65, a team of health care professionals provide consultation, education, health promotion, and illness prevention activities for seniors over the age of 65 years living in the community. The goal is to optimize quality of life and promote health, safety, and independence. Services are provided in the clinic setting, senior’s home, or at organized wellness and health promotion activities.55

New Brunswick

Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport and the Department of Social Development

Healthy Active Living Program

The Healthy Active Living Program is a peer-led bilingual program aimed at helping seniors make more informed choices about their health and well-being through health education, personal empowerment, and falls prevention exercises. Central topics include understanding aging, healthy aging, physical activity, healthy eating, and falls prevention. All sessions are free of charge.21

Department of Social Development

Day Activity Services for Seniors

Provide social and recreational activities, education on healthy living and the aging process, and healthy meals in a group setting for seniors living at home.56

Third Age Centre

The Centre works to empower seniors to maintain healthy, independent, and active lifestyles and serve their communities. The Centre conducts research and public education on seniors' issues and acts as an advocate on behalf of seniors. Areas of interest include food and nutrition updates, health issues, and fitness for seniors.22

Prince Edward Island

Department of Social Services and Seniors

Adult Day Programs

Four programs are available to provide services such as exercise classes, walking clubs, crafts, education, and socialization for elders living in the community.

Alzheimer Society of PEI Day Program

Located in Charlottetown, the program provides participants with varying degrees of memory impairment a safe environment for interaction with others, exercise, sensory stimulation, reminiscence activities, and field trips.57

Department of Community Services, Seniors and Labour and PEI Senior Citizens’ Federation

Seniors’ Friendly Visitors Program

Volunteers visit seniors experiencing loneliness or isolation due to illness, decreased mobility, or personal circumstances.

 

Senior Citizens’ Clubs

Community-based clubs offer social activities (e.g., potluck meals, cards, day trips, quilting) and physical activities (e.g., line dancing, exercise classes, and walking groups).58

Newfoundland and Labrador

Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador

Seniors Bridging Cultures Group

A multicultural group that meets weekly to share information and enjoy guest speakers and outings. 

Friendly Visiting Program

Matches seniors who have limited social contact, with a volunteer who visits once a week. 

Mall Walkers Club

Weekly walk at a local mall, followed by refreshments. Club activities include guest speakers and social events.24 

Labrador Friendship Centre

Seniors Program

Allows seniors to become involved in the community and to improve their health, well-being, and independence through cultural activities and information sessions.59

ALCOA-MB = Active Living Coalition for Older Adults in Manitoba; HSEP = Home Support Exercise Program; LHIN = Local Health Integration Network; PEI = Prince Edward Island; PRIME = Program of Integrated Managed-care of the Elderly; SAYGO = steady as you go.

Conclusions

Healthy aging is being promoted across Canada through the implementation of programs and initiatives by government departments, health regions, and local organizations for seniors living in the community. All programs offer one or more of the components of health promotion (such as healthy eating and smoking cessation), falls prevention, physical activity, and social activities. Jurisdictions are building upon existing national and provincial frameworks to ensure capacity for future community-based programs and encourage initiatives to promote healthy aging across Canada.

National Frameworks and Strategies for Healthy Aging

Provincial/Territorial Frameworks and Strategies for Healthy Aging

British Columbia

Alberta

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Ontario

Quebec

Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island

Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories

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Cite as: Ndegwa S. Initiatives for Healthy Aging in Canada [Environmental Scan Issue 17]. Ottawa: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2011.
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CADTH takes sole responsibility for the final form and content of this environmental scan. The statements and conclusions in this environmental scan are those of CADTH. Production of this report is made possible by financial contributions from Health Canada and the governments of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health takes sole responsibility for the final form and content of this report. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada or any provincial or territorial government.
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Disclaimer: The Environmental Scanning Service is an information service for those involved in planning and providing health care in Canada. Environmental Scanning Service responses are based on a limited literature search and are not comprehensive, systematic reviews. The intent is to provide information on a topic that CADTH could identify using all reasonable efforts within the time allowed. Environmental Scanning Service responses should be considered along with other types of information and health care considerations. The information included in this response is not intended to replace professional medical advice nor should it be construed as a recommendation for or against the use of a particular health technology. Readers are also cautioned that a lack of good quality evidence does not necessarily mean a lack of effectiveness, particularly in the case of new and emerging health technologies for which little information can be found but that may in future prove to be effective. While CADTH has taken care in the preparation of the report to ensure that its contents are accurate, complete, and up to date, CADTH does not make any guarantee to that effect. CADTH is not liable for any loss or damages resulting from use of the information in the report.
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