New Resource to Help Navigate Aging in NB
When Dr. Michelle Lafrance began working on a project to help New Brunswick seniors and their caregivers navigate the health and home care systems, she had no idea that within months she would be relying on that same research within her family.
“I was at a conference and received a weird text message from my father,” the STU Psychology professor recalls. “It literally made no sense and I started to worry about him.”
Within months, her father was diagnosed with dementia and Lafrance was facing the same obstacles and struggles her research hoped to alleviate for others.
Her latest project – Aging in New Brunswick: A User’s Guide – aims to fill in the gaps she faced when taking care of her father.
“The guide was put together by researchers and practitioners in New Brunswick who work with older adults,” she said. “Our aim was to help older adults in New Brunswick navigate the complex landscape of information, services, forms, and resources. There is no one-stop shop for services and healthcare issues for seniors in the province. This is our team’s attempt at putting the information all in one place.”
The project was led by Lafrance and project coordinator Ashley Erb, with the collaboration of other researchers at St. Thomas University, the University of New Brunswick, Université de Moncton, Karen Lake Caregiving Consulting and Collaborative for Healthy Aging and Care. The project was funded by NBIF and the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network, with additional funds granted by the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and St. Thomas University.
The idea for the document originally stemmed from Lafrance’s SSHRC funded study on caregivers of older adults. One of the most consistent things Lafrance heard during her interviews for that study was how people felt overwhelmed and lost when trying to access resources or services and how there was a need to gather all the information in one place.
Aging in New Brunswick: A User’s Guide is a ten-chapter document that deals with issues ranging from long-term care homes, to financial or legal matters, to equipment available for making everyday movements easier.
“It’s what I wish that I had had when I went through this with my dad,” Lafrance adds. “There are a lot of manuals out there on how to take care of children but there are no manuals on this. I hope it helps a lot of people.”
Aging in New Brunswick: A User’s Guide is available in English and in French and can be downloaded for free at STU.ca/aging-in-nb. Print copies of the guide are available in New Brunswick public libraries. If your local public library doesn’t have a copy on the shelves, staff will be happy to help you place a hold and have one brought in. The guide can also be delivered to your mailing address via the Books by Mail service.