Category: Care


Global reputation: A leader in geriatric care, education

Baycrest is building connections globally with other organizations that are concerned about improving quality of life for a burgeoning population of seniors.

Medical and nursing students from Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), one of the premier medical colleges in the People’s Republic of China, come to Baycrest to learn about geriatric care. During their visits, they observe and work with our staff, participate in geriatric training programs, learn about research and visit other long-term care facilities.

The government of China recognizes it faces challenges related to an expected rise in the 60+ age group from 200 million in 2013 to almost 450 million in 2050. In January 2017, Baycrest was invited to speak at the State Association of Foreign Expert Advisors symposium in Beijing. Dr. William Reichman, president and CEO of Baycrest, spoke about the impact of the aging Chinese population on the type of healthcare services that will need to be developed across China. He suggested a number of ways in which China can learn from the experience of Canada and other western nations and collaborate on bringing innovation to the global challenges in senior care.



Road to Connection: arts-based lifeline for caregivers of people…

“We created a new program for people living with mild to moderate dementia and their spouses. Dementia can cause a real strain on relationships, so we’ve designed this program to help both caregivers and their partner with dementia find new ways to communicate. This is the first time we’ve paired an arts based program for people with cognitive challenges with a support group for caregivers. It’s important for people to know that they’re not alone and that help is available to support them through this new stage in their relationship.”

– Renee Climans, Social Worker and Therapist at Baycrest Health Sciences

The Road to Connection weaves together three evidence-based interventions into a combined model that provides an emotionally focused psychosocial group intervention for the spouses of people with dementia and a separate group which melds arts based and cognitive interventions for their partners. The ultimate goal of this program is to decrease the burden that some family caregivers feel, while increasing the quality of life for both the family care provider and the person with dementia, and decreasing premature institutionalization of people affected by dementia. Offering this innovative program has helped Baycrest clinicians increase their knowledge about evidence-based targeted interventions for people with dementia. This program was made possible with support from the Hy and Bertha Shore and Harry and Sara Gorman Award and the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation.



91-year-old valedictorian: ‘You’re never too old to learn.’

“I myself have learned a lot from the courses, I knew absolutely nothing about art before. As the saying goes, you’re never too old to learn. It was really exciting for all of us today. The only thing lacking are the spike heels the Grade 8 girls were wearing!”                                           

Eva Kurtzman, valedictorian and the oldest student(91 years old) of Baycrest learning academy

The Baycrest Learning Academy, in partnership with Ryerson University’s Chang School of Continuing Education, is one of the most popular programs at Baycrest. It brings together a variety of older adult learners who are interested in challenging themselves, and who have an appetite for intellectual pursuits. Over the past three years, students have been offered courses in archeology, philosophy, theatre, astronomy, impressionism, history, biology, cinema, neuroscience, classical music, French literature, climatology, sociology and more. The most requested classes are typically music and arts-based – subjects that resonate with Baycrest’s clients, and trigger personal past memories.




Older adults’ storytelling builds one-of-a-kind living legacy

“We think Storycare is a concept that will spread, and that other institutions and healthcare settings will try to incorporate the arts, particularly the art of storytelling and writing, into their practices. Our hope is that healthcare professionals’ daily rounds will not only include talking about the biology of their patients, but what stories they carry with them, and who keeps their stories alive if they are unable to tell them themselves.”

– Dan Yashinsky, artist-in-residence at Baycrest Health Sciences

More than 80 people gathered at Baycrest Health Sciences on Friday, December 9 for a special Storycare Symposium. The event brought together people who practice the art of storytelling, healthcare clinicians and educators, as well as older adults to talk about the idea of stories from different perspectives and to explore the use of storytelling in working with older adults in the context of healthcare. This symposium was organized in collaboration with Storytelling Toronto, a group that was founded by seven storytellers who wanted to encourage the renaissance of storytelling in modern society. Keynote speakers included Dr. Steve Sabat, a professor emeritus at Georgetown University, specializing in the subjective experience of having Alzheimer’s disease, and Mary Louise Chown, a Winnipeg-based storyteller who pioneered the use of storytelling in palliative care.


Workshop for young and old paves path to a…

“These young people are amazingly articulate. Their education went a lot further than mine and I’m learning a lot from them. They are creative, artistic and great company. These students give me great hope for the future.”

                          – Pearl, Intergenerational Institute for Entrepreneurs participant

Ten students and six seniors, ranging in age from 13 to 93, participated in a 5-day program aimed at fostering entrepreneurial skills and design-thinking this past summer. Run by the Culture & Arts department at Baycrest, the Intergenerational Institute for Entrepreneurs brought experts from across the organization together to host workshops throughout the week. Participants worked together to discuss and solve challenges based on real-world issues. The group spent the week learning and working together through dance, meditation, martial arts and discussions about intergenerational and inclusive communities. At the end of the week, groups created and presented prototypes of new community spaces to a panel of judges. Teams were awarded certificates for innovation, application of technology, forward-thinking solutions, and community vision.


Pilot program succeeds in reducing stressful emergency department visits

“Every year in Ontario, thousands of long-term care home residents are taken by ambulance to emergency departments of acute-care hospitals. In addition to the costs, clients often face delays for many hours before receiving attention. The hospital visits can also add to clients’ anxiety and discomfort, and puts them at risk for further illness through exposure to other sick patients in waiting rooms. For these reasons, this past year Baycrest piloted a program to reduce unnecessary emergency department transfers and we’ve been thrilled with the response from our staff and clients.”

– Sue Calabrese, Director of Care and Resident Experience for the Apotex Centre, Jewish Home for the Aged

Thanks to a very generous five-year pledge from the Menkes Family, Baycrest launched the Reducing Unnecessary Emergency Department Transfers pilot project. The results have been impressive: emergency department transfers decreased from 21.5 visits/100 residents a year ago to 18.8 visits/100 residents over the past year. This is considerably better than the Toronto Central average for long-term care homes, which is 26.3 visits/100 residents.

On average, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care says that 30 per cent of visits to the emergency department from long-term care facilities are potentially avoidable. Baycrest is determined give focused attention to initiatives aimed at reducing this statistic.

Glee Club, Seniors, Older Adults, Baycrest, Singing, Couple, hits, Elvis, Sinatra Care

The halls at Baycrest are alive with the sound…

“When the Buddy’s Glee Club first began as a small research project in our day centre back in 2011, we had no idea how popular the club would become. Participants enjoyed singing so much, they asked us to keep it going and as the research study expanded, new Glee Clubs were created across the Baycrest campus.  Currently, there are Buddy’s Glee Clubs in the Apotex Centre, Jewish Home for the Aged, and in both day centres. Music therapists act as the conductors for each group, which allows us to customize every session for the unique needs of each group. We’ve seen many Glee Club members make new friendships and strengthen relationships with caregivers, family members and friends.”

– Kiki Chang, Music Therapist, Department of Culture and Arts at Baycrest Health Sciences

Featuring songs from the 1950s and 1960s, Buddy’s Glee Clubs have been a part of life at Baycrest for the past six years. Each week, groups of older adults with a wide range of cognitive abilities gather in recreation rooms and shared spaces at Baycrest to sing hits from artists such as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and from popular Broadway musicals. Music therapists choose songs to match the moods, emotions, and memories of each group and often pause rehearsals to jump into discussions about the histories of the musicians, songs and the participants’ own histories in relation to music. This program is made possible thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor.

Music is a part of everyday life in other ways too. Many philanthropic families enable Baycrest to present concerts for patients, residents and their families. Thank you to Hugh Furneaux, who generously joined the group this year by sponsoring our Sunday Concert Series.


Laser walker, robotic exoskeleton improve mobility

“We are constantly testing, evaluating and investing in new innovations at the Jeff and Diane Ross Movement Disorders Clinic. Our goal is to match new technologies with our clients’ pathologies and to improve people’s quality of life. This past year, we received a research grant from the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation to develop a laser walker and we have partnered with the University of New Brunswick to test a robotic exoskeleton suit that we believe will help people with degenerative neurological conditions continue walking. We hope to develop new clinical protocols that can be used around the world to help clients walk and move independently and stave off the physical decline experienced with neurological diseases. We are extremely grateful to all of our donors and the funding agencies that allow us to create these innovative solutions for people at Baycrest, all over the province of Ontario, and Canada.”

– Pearl Gryfe, Clinical and Managing Director of the Assistive Technology Clinic and the Jeff and Diane Ross Movement Disorders Clinic

Drawing on the strength of an expert interprofessional team, the Jeff and Diane Ross Movement Disorders Clinic helps thousands of people with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders to live independently in their own homes or comfortably in assisted living communities. The clinic operates in partnership with the Assistive Technology Clinic (ATC), a recognized leader in innovative rehabilitation, and provides progressive medical and rehabilitative care and treatment and is also a source for innovative technologies to help enhance the ability to move, function and improve quality of life. ATC is funded in part by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and a number of generous donors and grants.


Women Friends of Baycrest support exceptional geriatric care

“Women Friends of Baycrest had a very successful third year, raising more than $180,000 for renovations of the new Geriatric Clinic. Our group in 2016 combined philanthropy with fun and interesting events featuring healthy eating, visual arts and vintage fashion, along with informative health talks by Baycrest doctors and researchers.”

                -Tobie Bekhor and Gilda Goodman Helman, Co-chairs, Women Friends of Baycrest

Baycrest is leading a culture shift around how to provide medical care for an aging population. In the Geriatric Clinic at Baycrest, specialists look at the whole person. If the issue is mobility, for example, there could be six different factors involved. Baycrest geriatricians aim to identify those factors, remediate, improve quality of life and help patients achieve their goals.

Learn more about Women Friends of Baycrest here, or contact Baycrest at 416-785-2500 ext. 2568.


Cogniciti plays central role in pharma’s fight against dementia

“Cogniciti’s online brain health assessment offers Baycrest the chance to play a central role in the development of the next generation of Alzheimer’s disease treatment. Finding the right research volunteers for studies has been a major problem. Through Cogniciti, users can now join a Research Registry designed to use their test results to match interested volunteers to the right studies.”

                                                                    -Michael Meagher, President and CEO of Cogniciti

The free, scientifically-validated test, developed by Rotman Research Institute scientists, can help adults 40+ determine if their memory changes should be evaluated by a doctor.

Over the past year, Cogniciti has signed agreements to recruit for two global drug studies and two non-drug studies at the Rotman Research Institute, all focused on therapies designed to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Since its launch in 2013, more than 55,000 assessments were completed.

Take Cogniciti’s free online Brain Health Assessment or join the Research Registry at