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New national hub to support healthy aging opens in Frederiction

New Brunswick Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care Lisa Harris, speaking at York Care Centre on May 16, 2017.
New Brunswick Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care Lisa Harris, speaking at York Care Centre on May 16, 2017. Adrienne South/Global News

A new national hub that aims to support healthy aging is now open for business in Fredericton.

York Care Centre is now home to the Advancing Policies and Practices in Technology and Aging (APPTA) hub. The initiative is a collaboration between the AGE-WELL network of centres of excellence and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation.

New Brunswick Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care minister Lisa Harris made the announcement Tuesday, along with stakeholders at York Care Centre, unveiling the new office space.

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Harris said while the new centre might just contain furniture for now, it will soon be home to there experts sitting trying to find innovative ways to help seniors live a better life.

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Researchers will help support the development of policies, practices and services across Canada and will harness technology such as smart home systems, artificial intelligence and robotics.

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“Who knows what’s going to come out of this, but I know for sure it’s going to be greatness,” Harris said. “I can’t wait to be here celebrating the successes that come out of having this hub right here in New Brunswick.”

AGE-WELL Scientific Director Alex Mihailidis said the hub’s research will look at policy and the “regulatory landscape” on how to get those innovations to market and into the hands of seniors who need them.

“We can develop great technologies, but if the policies and service delivery models are not in place to actually get them out there, then there’s no point in doing the development,” Mihailidis said. “And that’s really what this hub is going to focus on.”

York Care Centre CEO Kevin Harter said he’s honoured to have the hub at the facility.

“Our job here at the hub is going to be to pull every aspect of research that we can pull together, be it technology that helps better identify issues with residents, or technology that better helps resolve issues — bring it together, develop the system needed … that will help support this being adopted by other organizations… throughout Canada,” Harter said.

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Mihailidis said several other hubs like APPTA will be announced across the country in coming months.