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Evidence that strong interpersonal connections are essential to our mental and physical health is growing. And these ties may be more important as we age, particularly among older adults living in retirement residences and long-term care homes. According to Dr. Kristine Theurer, who’s been a researcher in the long-term care sector for more than two decades, “We all yearn to connect with others, and for many people, moving into a residence means seeing friends and family less frequently. So it’s crucial for them to make new connections.”
People 85 and older make up Canada’s fastest-growing population segment, increasing at nearly four times the rate of the total. Also growing quickly is the number of evidence-based tools and strategies to help them live longer, happier, and more fulfilling lives, which is good news, since the size of this group will triple over the next few decades.
Research conducted by Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) staff into early childhood mental health has helped inspire a new, multi-million dollar funding initiative by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This spring, CIHR’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH) expects to issue a call for proposals devoted to early childhood mental health.