Category: Education


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.


First clinically-validated, online brain health workshop

“Normal age-related memory decline can be a source of worry and frustration for many older adults. Baycrest’s Memory and Aging Program is one of the few brain health workshops for healthy older adults around the world that helps seniors take control of their memory change experience and optimize their brain health. The online Memory and Aging Program workshop will allow us to share Baycrest’s expertise to anyone with an Internet connection.”

-Dr. Susan Vandermorris, Baycrest clinical neuropsychologist and lead for the Memory and Aging Program

For more than 20 years, Baycrest’s Memory and Aging Program has helped more than 1,000 healthy older adults. It is among the few clinically-validated, gold standard brain health workshops across the globe and it will offer an evidence-based, brain-training product that has a long track record of scientific excellence.

In 2016, the Memory and Aging Program worked closely with e-learning experts, designers and program users to design an interactive, informative and practical e-learning experience.

With support from the Canadian Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation (CC-ABHI), the program is currently being tested by older adults across Canada and is expected to be validated and widely distributed this year.


Uncovering the impact of volunteer visits on thinking skills

“What I’ve learned is that each day is a day in itself, one day is different from the other. You can’t expect the residents to remember you from one day from the next but when you see that smile that they somewhat remember you or that they’re happy to see you, it really makes it worth it.”

-Sabrina Teles, volunteer with Baycrest’s PLEASE program (a person-centred care program)

Baycrest scientists and clinicians are teaming up with long-term care homes across Toronto to explore how volunteer visits could help older adults with dementia preserve or improve their thinking abilities. This work could help long-term care homes incorporate a cost-effective program to improve care for residents with dementia and create new roles for volunteers working with older adults.

More than half of long-term care home residents in Ontario have dementia and impairments to residents’ thinking abilities impact their overall health and quality of life. This project received support from The Retired Teachers of Ontario Foundation. Find out more about this work.


Baycrest launches first Canadian Brain Health Food Guide

“Our Brain Health Food Guide will help adults 50+ preserve their thinking and memory skills as they age. There is increasing evidence in scientific literature that healthy eating is associated with retention of cognitive function, but there is also a lot of misinformation out there. This guide will help older adults seeking to proactively manage their brain health through healthy nutrition.”

– Dr. Carol Greenwood, co-author of the Brain Health Food Guide and senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute

Research has found that dietary patterns similar to those outlined in the first Canadian Brain Health Food Guide are associated with decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 36 per cent and mild cognitive impairment (a condition likely to develop into Alzheimer’s) by 27 per cent.

Download the Brain Health Food Guide and start protecting your brain health today.


Training the next generation of healthcare professionals

“Baycrest is not just a hospital, it’s a community. The nine months I have spent at Baycrest have provided me with the knowledge, guidance and tools I need to excel in my career. I have had the opportunity to work with a diverse and talented interdisciplinary team who were patient and welcoming. The training I have received at Baycrest is invaluable. It has provided me with the confidence, preparation and experience I need to begin my career. ”

-Abby Andrew, MSW student, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Psychiatric Day Hospital

Each year, more than 1,200 students, trainees and other practitioners from universities and colleges across Canada and around the world come to Baycrest to explore learning opportunities.




Innovative eLearning equips families and caregivers

“After taking the on-line learning module, Team-Based Care for Responsive Behaviours, I am better equipped to respond appropriately to clients with dementia. This practical, realistic approach to training using simulation is of tremendous benefit to healthcare providers and will help improve the quality of life for our seniors.”

                                                        – Baycrest interprofessional team member

The Centre for Education and Baycrest’s Learning Management System teams collaborated to develop Team-Based Care for Responsive Behaviours with support from CC-ABHI.