TORONTO, October 1, 2019 – The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has received funding from the Slaight Family Foundation for an initiative that will implement and evaluate a treatment program for seniors with mental illness living in LOFT Community Services housing. Mental Health Is Health for Seniors at Home combines cognitive training and brain stimulation, with a goal of helping seniors stay at home longer.
The funding is part of a national announcement through the Slaight Family Foundation Seniors Initiative to mark the UN’s International Day of Older Persons and builds on the Foundation’s long history of philanthropy at CAMH. “The Slaight Family Foundation was one of CAMH’s earliest supporters at a time when stigma prevented many other philanthropists from lending their name to our cause and joining our movement,” said Deborah Gillis, President and CEO of the CAMH Foundation. “We’re grateful for its investment in this important and urgently-needed initiative that will support our rapidly-aging population.”
With the greatest number of specialized geriatric inpatient beds at any Toronto-area hospital, CAMH has a significant clinical and research enterprise devoted to understanding and preventing mental illness and dementia in later life. This initiative will enable CAMH and its partner, LOFT, to deploy a combination of computerized cognitive training and a non-invasive form of brain stimulation called transcranial Direct Current Stimulation toward reducing cognitive impairments, functional disability, social isolation and risk of falling for under-served seniors with early dementia, depression or other mental disorders. Staff working at LOFT will also be trained to deliver these interventions, increasing skills and capacity in community housing.
CAMH will also collaborate with Baycrest to adapt the ‘Baycrest@Home’ suite of online services for LOFT, and potentially use them in the delivery of cognitive training. In turn, CAMH will deliver ‘MentalHealthIsHealth for Seniors at Home’ to seniors living in other private homes who will receive Baycrest@Home through a Baycrest-led initiative.
Canada’s population is rapidly aging, putting a significant strain on the health care system. The needs of this population becomes particularly high when individuals also have a mental illness. “Seniors with mental illness need an extra layer of support to stay in their homes longer because their illnesses are themselves associated with impairments, disabilities and isolation,” said Gary Slaight of The Slaight Family Foundation. “The Slaight Family Foundation is pleased to support existing partnerships between CAMH, Baycrest and LOFT to test this treatment program that has the potential to help so many seniors with late life mental illness.”
To learn more about care for seniors at CAMH, including the Geriatric Mental Health Outpatient and Inpatient Services and the Memory Clinic that provides assessment and follow-up for people with concerns regarding memory or other areas of cognition, please call AccessCAMH at 416-535-8501, and press 2.
To learn more about CAMH’s Adult Neurodevelopmental and Geriatric Psychiatry Division focused on the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of mental illness in late life, click here.
ABOUT THE CENTRE FOR ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.