CABHI’s community discussion series calls on Canadians with lived experience
The Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), led by Baycrest Health Sciences, is committed to providing market-ready health-care innovations for aging Canadians. Through its “What’s on Your Mind?” community discussion series, the Ontario-based company is accelerating research by asking people directly what they need to live and age well.
This past November, CABHI, together with Dementia Advocacy Canada, hosted “What’s on Your Mind?” in Calgary. It was the first time the event was hosted outside of Ontario.
The gathering, held at the Marda Loop Community Association, included people living with dementia, as well as care partners. Dr. Allison Sekuler, CABHI’s managing director and VP of research for Baycrest, led the lively discussion.
“We’ve actually interacted a lot with the community here in Calgary. But to come out and meet with people firsthand gives us a different perspective,” Sekuler explained at the gathering. “Research should be driven by the individuals living it.”
Participants shared their challenges with stigma, navigating the health-care system, accessing programming and the shortage of qualified health-care supports. The group brainstormed ideas such as introducing “dementia doulas” in hospitals. Several people living with dementia also shared the reality of their lived experience.
CABHI’s goal is to capture themes from its community discussions and ensure it’s on the right track with its innovations. In the next five years, it plans to build an advisory council with over a million people with lived experience to help inform the implementation of its programming.
“The reason we wanted to have a conversation with all of you, and to find out what you think, is because we want to move beyond research into action. We want to make a difference in the world,” Sekuler said. [ ]