Kingston becomes home to first Centre for Healthy Aging

The Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) celebrated the launch of the first Centre for Healthy Aging on Thursday morning. 

CFN and MP Mark Gerretsen announced a federal investment of $950,000 at an "Aging Well Together" event at Kingston City Hall featuring booths from local agencies that encourage healthy aging. 

The event looked to introduce people in Kingston to the new and first regional centre that will help connect seniors to local resources that can help promote healthy aging.

The free, online program will help seniors to assess and adjust their lifestyle to mitigate the effects of frailty, connecting to local resources. 

Through regional centres, CFN hopes to make it as easy as possible for those getting older to identify what they may be lacking in a healthy aging lifestyle and who they can connect with in the community to help address that.

Dr. John Muscedere, CFN Scientific Director and a professor at Queen's, says the program should enhance the level of personalization people receive in their health advice, and point them in the right direction to get it. 

"It actually targets the resources in the community to help you achieve those things," Dr. Muscedere said.

"This is not designed for us to do everything but it's designed to help to target the activities to local organizations that actually help with that."

Federal funding will help the program to expand outreach in particular to try to engage lower-income seniors.

Dr. Muscedere said that first step of just getting the program in front of seniors so they can access it is important to it having an impact.

"To actually have direct outreach for them so that we can better design programs to reach those people that we may not be able to reach through this," Dr. Muscedere said. 

"So it allows us to expand the reach of what we're doing."

The centres will promote five main categories of healthy aging that CFN has broken down and called AVOID: activity, vaccination, optimization of medication, reduction of social isolation, and diet. 

MP Mark Gerretsen said the federal government is committed to promoting healthy aging, and a program that could provide more personalized and targeted information to those who need it could be a big step towards that.

"Here it might be different than another region, and this way you let the region really focus is towards the needs of the region," Gerretsen said.

"People can really get assessed on to their individual needs and then the organizations in here can help them fulfill and meet those needs."

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington is the first region with a health aging centre, but the program will expand to cities throughout the country.

Story by Owen Fullerton, YGK News, for the Local Journalism Initiative