Canada’s population is growing older. In 2019, the population of seniors 65-years of age and older was almost one-fifth of the overall population, and by 2040 the population of seniors is predicted to reach one-fourth of the overall population, with over one-third of seniors having two or more chronic diseases.1
This changing demographic will require an adaptation of current care delivery, the integration of research, and creative innovative solutions to improve and transform the current continuing care system.
The Brenda Strafford Foundation (BSF) is an innovative force, providing high quality person-centred care and services to optimize well-being and enrich people’s lives. BSF was established in 1975 by Dr. Barrie I. Strafford in memory of his late wife, Brenda. Since then, it has grown to support many local and international programs.
Locally in Alberta, BSF owns and operates five aging care and senior living communities in Calgary and Okotoks. The foundation also provides local community programs including BSF’s ‘Heart Home Network’ – a second stage shelter providing a safe environment and services for women and children who are fleeing domestic violence. A partnership with the Children’s Cottage Society provides emergency shelter and resources for families at risk of homelessness at ‘Brenda’s House,’ which is owned by BSF Internationally, BSF owns a variety of medical clinics and operates or supports various healthcare services to enhance the health, wellness, and quality of life of underserved regions in the Caribbean including Haiti, Jamaica, and Dominica.
BSF is involved in several projects for research and innovation that focus on aging care and services for seniors’ health and wellness. An ambitious new strategy will further optimize their social impact across all their areas of service and the diverse populations they serve.
“The ‘BSF Way’ is our foundational approach to person-centered care reinforcing our core value to ‘put people at the centre’ of everything we do,” says Carolyne Mondoux, Vice President of Service Excellence, Quality, and Innovation. “This person-centred approach ensures our care, services, and environments are personalized, enabling, support positive interactions and relationships, and encourage a sense of belonging. This is woven into everything we do, including how we approach innovation.”
The foundation’s ongoing commitment to quality and innovation is demonstrated through research undertaken in collaboration with external partners and associates, facilitating pilot studies of innovation and proof of concept projects, and quality improvement initiatives that advance evidence based best practices to enhance clinical and quality of life outcomes within their sites – and beyond.
INNOVATION IN ACTION
Dr. Barrie Strafford Centre for Learning, Innovation & Quality
The Dr. Barrie Strafford Centre for Learning, Innovation & Quality was launched by BSF in support of its mission to be an innovative force in optimizing well-being and enriching lives. The purpose of this newly established BSF centre is to form strategic partnerships with entrepreneurial innovators to co-create solutions that shape the future of work, aging, healthcare, and community supports to benefit all areas BSF serves and ensure greater social impact.
Research at the University of Calgary
BSF has a close affiliation with the University of Calgary supporting research that contributes to knowledge, innovation, and best practices to advance the quality of life of the communities they serve.
The foundation has established three research chairs at the University of Calgary, including a research chair in Geriatric Medicine, Alzheimer Research, and the Prevention of Domestic Violence.
The Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging was established at the University of Calgary in 2011 to enhance health and wellness of seniors and better inform public policy regarding seniors’ issues through coordinated aging-related research, teaching and learning, and community outreach efforts.
The HealthTech Home project is a collaborative effort between BSF and Health Cities. It aims to find innovative solutions to make aging at home more possible for older adults, as well as address pressure on health systems by testing technologies and innovative solutions that help older adults remain safely in their homes longer with enhanced independence.
The HealthTech Home project develops a “sandbox” environment within a BSF-owned condo unit that is connected to BSF’s Cambridge Manor. Innovative solutions are selected and installed to monitor the health of an independent living condo tenant in an effort to slow, or reverse, any decline in health and to aid aging in place. The tenant’s feedback and experience will help to build a framework that supports aging in place.
“Today’s generation of aging seniors have different expectations around remaining in their homes and maintaining their independence as they age,” says Tony Weeks, BSF President and CEO. “We are committed to leading innovations that optimize well-being and enrich lives of older adults, creating impact within our seniors’ care communities, and beyond.”
BSF’s Rec@Home is a virtual recreation program for older adults in the community. The program offers daily exercises led by staff, virtual therapeutic music sessions, various cognitive games, social groups, coffee chats, and more – all from the comfort and convenience of one’s home. Rec@ Home combats social isolation and empowers participants to connect and build community through virtual gatherings, while also providing respite and valuable tools and resources for caregivers.
BSF is committed to pursuing quality and innovation. Their strategy prioritizes research, education, and innovation. A commitment to innovation and research is represented in their mission, vision, and values to advance the quality of life for those they serve driven by ‘the preservation of dignity and the pursuit of happiness.’
1 Public Health Agency of Canada (2022) Aging and chronic diseases: A profile of Canadian seniors.
Bow View Manor: 4628 Montgomery Blvd NW, Calgary, AB, T3B 0K7
Cambridge Manor: 253 Smith Street NW, Calgary, AB, T3B 6K1
Clifton House: 907 47th Street SE, Calgary, AB T2A 7L4
Wentworth Manor: 5717 14th Ave SW, Calgary, AB, T3H 3M2
Tudor Manor: 200 Sandstone Drive, Okotoks, AB, T1S 1R1