Dr. Dolores Furlong is a professor with the Faculty of Nursing and Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs on Aging at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. She currently conducts research with the APPTA HUB of AGE-WELL and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation. This Hub is located within the York Care Centre in Fredericton. Dr. Furlong has worked with research teams on issues in aging at the Gerontology Department of St. Thomas University. She also was instrumental in the design, development and delivery of the interdisciplinary masters and doctoral programs on aging at UNB graduate studies department.
AGE-WELL Canada and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation collaboratively established the first national research innovation hub on advancing policies and practices in the effective use of technology to support the independence of seniors throughout the aging process. Housed in New Brunswick’s largest senior care facility, York Care Centre, this hub draws on the expertise of a wide variety of professional, public and individual stakeholders to engage in research and dialogue on evolving policy, program and service challenges related to existing and emerging technologies. The hub’s agenda is to create and shape effective solutions to these challenges to maximize the health and well-being of our aging citizens. In bringing together a wide range of stakeholders – policymakers, service providers, researchers, inventors, entrepeneurs, and users – this innovation hub fosters comprehensive engagement, collaboration, and inquiry across disciplines, agencies, age groups, and authorities in seeking solutions, designing meaningful policies, and supporting effective implementation to maximize the independence and quality of life of persons during the aging process. In this paper, we will discuss the evolution of this novel approach, some of the unanticipated challenges that tested assumptions and that shaped new perspectives as the project and research process matured.