UNBC is the host institution for the Centre for Technology Adoption for Aging in the North, a new AGE-WELL National Innovation Hub. Through partnerships with technology developers, researchers, policy makers, health-care providers, community groups and older adults themselves, CTAAN tests, pilots, implements and promotes new and existing technology solutions to help older adults live independently.
Prince George, B.C. – Rapidly evolving technology can make a big difference in the lives of older adults, their caregivers and the health-care systems that support them. A new AGE-WELL National Innovation Hub hosted at the University of Northern British Columbia will support aging in rural and northern communities by increasing access to the latest innovations and collaborating on new research projects.
A partnership between the University of Northern British Columbia, AGE-WELL and Northern Health, The Centre for Technology Adoption for Aging in the North (CTAAN) aims to bridge the gap between technology developers and those aging in northern and rural communities.
“We are proud to be part of this important new initiative, which brings stakeholders together to ensure that older Canadians and caregivers in rural and northern communities benefit from emerging technologies that support healthy aging,” says Dr. Andrew Sixsmith, scientific director of the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence.
Through partnerships with technology developers, researchers, policy makers, health-care providers, community groups and older adults themselves, CTAAN tests, pilots, implements and promotes new and existing technology solutions to help older adults live independently.
CTAAN builds on the healthy aging research of social gerontologist Dr. Shannon Freeman, an associate professor of nursing at UNBC and CTAAN founding academic director. Dr. Richard McAloney is the centre’s founding director.
“Innovative, new, and creative technology-driven solutions are being developed to support the provision of timely, high quality, and appropriate care, and to improve upstream approaches to care, to better support those aging in rural and northern B.C.,” Freeman says. “At CTAAN, we recognize the opportunity to pair existing services with new and innovative strategies involving technology to provide more accessible and comprehensive supports to older adults and their caregivers.”
“Technology should enable, empower, and engage those who use it to support healthy aging,” McAloney adds. “CTAAN will be the bridge to attract and validate technologies providing the evidence to ensure it is adopted and sustainably scaled through our region. We are looking forward to working together with all our community stakeholders using technology to usher in aging the northern way.”
Implementing new and existing technological solutions and ensuring equitable access in rural and remote communities will not only improve quality of life for older adults, it can also lessen the load for long-term care and acute-care facilities across northern B.C.
“As the population in northern B.C. continues to age over the next 15-20 years, the health system needs to think differently in how to support older persons to age with grace and remain independent as long as possible,” says Northern Health Executive Lead, Elder Care Program Aaron Bond. “CTAAN provides a partnered approach to explore innovations in technology development and we are very fortunate to have strong partnerships with UNBC and AGE-WELL. We look forward to what is possible in adapting, piloting, and implementing innovations in technology to support older adults in rural and Northern communities.”
In addition, CTAAN will support research activities at UNBC and provide unique student training and experiential learning opportunities.
“The Centre for Technology Adoption for Aging in the North aligns with and supports UNBC’s vision to transform lives and communities in northern B.C. and beyond,” says UNBC Interim President Dr. Geoff Payne. “As the host institution, CTAAN will allow UNBC to deepen our ties with AGE-WELL and Northern Health and forge new research partnerships.”