Over two dozen trainees in the medical field across Canada are in Prince George this week as part of the AGE-WELL Early Professionals, Inspired Careers Summer Institute hosted by UNBC.
The trainees will speak with stakeholders and develop solutions to improve health care service delivery in our region.
From virtual care platforms to wearable health technologies, there is an unprecedented opportunity for disruptive technology to improve the health and quality of life of rural and remote older adults, create more sustainable or integrated health-care solutions, and open up new possibilities for businesses and government.
Scientific Director, Dr. Alex Mihaildis told MyPGNow.com that oftentimes some able-bodied seniors are placed in congregate living facilities because they can’t access the care they need.
“So, because they often end up in assisted-living or in long-term care homes. Many of them actually probably don’t need to be there – they can be at home with the right interventions and supports in place so that’s what we do.”
He added technology can be a friend to our elderly population instead of a barrier.
“There has been a lot of research that has shown that technology can play a significant role in improving the quality of life of older people as well as the quality of life of their family caregivers who is often their spouse who may also be going through their own challenges as they age.”
Mihaildis admitted while more solutions are needed in our region, there is no one-size-fits-all model.
“Even here in northern BC, every community is unique. Every community has its own specific needs and that is what we have to take into account when we develop and implement these technologies.”
“The unfortunate piece is there hasn’t been a lot of work here in the north and in remote communities and that is what we are doing here now through various partnerships with UNBC and Northern Health.”
Trainees will have the opportunity to enhance their skills alongside experts from AGE-WELL and faculty from UNBC, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Wilfred Laurier University and Toronto Metropolitan University.
The week-long event concludes on Friday with a Dragon’s Den-style pitch competition, where trainees present their ideas about how to use technology to assist older adults and their caregivers to a panel of judges. It will take place at UNBC’s Canfor Theatre, which will be open to the public.