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Red Cross and McMaster University working together to help older adults

Aging well where you live is a hope for many people. As healthcare plans shift away from hospital stays to have people enjoy life where they live, innovation is needed to help support them.   

McMaster University’s Department of Family Medicine and the Canadian Red Cross have joined to create a strategic alliance connecting McMaster’s expertise in academic research and primary care, and the Red Cross’ expertise in supporting health through trained volunteers and responding in times of disaster. 

One of the initiatives supported by this alliance is called Health TAPESTRY, that brings together volunteers, technology, communities and health care teams. Developed and led by McMaster, the Red Cross is supporting by recruiting, training, and managing volunteers for the program

Volunteers for Health TAPESTRY visit clients in their homes, where they will gather important information like how much caregiver support they have and the kinds of daily activities they are involved in. The information gets collected on iPads for easy sharing with that person’s primary healthcare team, so they can better support their clients in meeting their health goals.

Another important part to Health TAPESTRY is that it connects people to available resources in the community, like day programs or Meals on Wheels. This means people who are at risk can be identified before they need a higher level of care, like having to go to a hospital.

Health TAPESTRY is currently active in Hamilton, Niagara On-The-Lake, Sault Ste. Marie and Dufferin County, and there are plans to expand further, so that people participating in the program can see their primary care team more.

This video highlights the benefits of this partnership:

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, visit
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