STU profs create resource guide for N.B. seniors

    A pair of senior citizens talk on a bench in this stock photo. (Flickr/Steve Thomas)

    A group of professors from St. Thomas University worked to develop a user guide that aims to aid seniors across New Brunswick navigate provincial services and other resources.

    “Aging in New Brunswick: A User’s Guide” shares information on topics essential for seniors like health support services, long-term care, financial issues and legal issues.

    Michelle Lafrance, a STU professor of psychology, said it is important for the senior community in New Brunswick to get information about crucial subjects that come up with aging. 

    “[The guide] was our effort to put all of that, all those basic information pieces, in one place,” said Lafrance. 

    Lafrance said she met with her STU colleague, Janet Durkee-Lloyd and they talked over lunch about their research findings and concluded that providing older adults with useful information to navigate life was an important concern.

    “I was talking about my research with caregivers who were saying it’s so hard to figure stuff out and [Durkee-Lloyd] was doing research at the time with older adults across the province,” said Lafrance. “And they were saying the exact same thing, so together at that lunch, we were like ‘well, what can we do?’”

    Lafrance said the project had extensive planning and testing to make sure the guide was structured to have an accurate representation of what older adults need. They gave the guide to 45 members of the general public to proofread and give feedback. 

    “Extraordinary feedback from people all across the province and people are really taking it up with a lot of enthusiasm,” she said. 

    Once Lafrance had the feedback, she said she concentrated on writing the guide in “an accessible way … and comprehensible way.”

    The NB guide is now available through the STU website and the New Brunswick Public Libraries system. Most of the 50 physical copies are already borrowed by seniors or caregivers in the province. Lafrance said she is delighted about the guide’s success and the feedback the team has received. 

    “[Many people] have never seen anything like it and it’s original. So practical and helpful,” she said.