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Health Checks receives United Nations recognition

Student volunteer helping at the welcome table

The United Nations (UN) has declared 2021 – 2030 as the Decade of Healthy Ageing.

The UN defines healthy ageing as “creating the environments and opportunities that enable people to be and do what they value throughout their lives.”

In Canada, Manitoba, and within Prairie Mountain Health (PMH), the population is aging. Older adults are one of the fastest growing populations.

The PMH Community Health Assessment (McPherson N et al., 2019) states that by 2030, the most significant increase in population within PMH will be the 75-84 age group. 

Older adults want to age in place, meaning they want to live safely and independently in their home for as long as they can.

1n 2019, community members and organizations in Brandon recognized a need to provide health and social supports to this growing population and formed a community coalition called Health Checks – There’s a Whole Lot of Living Left To Do.

The focus of this community effort is to promote the well-being of older adults and to strengthen their right to self-determination, respect, and dignity so they can age to their full potential.

The Health Checks steering committee consists of provincial and local non-profit organizations (i.e. Age Friendly Manitoba, United Way, Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, Seniors for Seniors), Prairie Mountain Health, community dwelling citizens, consultants and researchers from Brandon University.

Health Checks has many initiatives on the go. To date the committee:

Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, partner and member of the Health Checks steering committee
  • created a website at
  • conducted a community survey to residents and health professionals; results were used to plan initiatives
  • provides content for the Conversations on Aging program on WCGtv Channel 1012
  • provided input into City of Brandon recreation master plan
  • hosts an elder abuse awareness event in June
  • plans, delivers and evaluates a free, annual event in Brandon to provide resources, presentations, and health screening to older adults and caregivers of older adults.

Health Checks had their inaugural annual in person event in the fall of 2019. The pandemic challenged the Health Checks committee to think outside the box and used digital media platforms, including community television, to offer the annual event virtually in 2020 and 2021. The annual event returned to in person in 2022 and 2023.

The Health Checks committee has received grants from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, Brandon Regional Health Centre (BRHC) Foundation and City of Brandon to offer free events that are accessible to all.

Since Health Check’s inception in 2019, PMH has been an integral partner in providing reliable health information and screening at the Health Checks annual events.

Meryl Orth, founder and co-chair of Health Checks steering committee with Westman Immigrant Services, a partner and member of the Health Checks steering committee.

Overview of PMH programs and services that have participated in the annual events:

  • CancerCare Navigation Team
  • Chronic Disease Education Program
  • Dr. Elizabeth Rhynold, Geriatric Medicine Specialist
  • Falls Prevention and Management Committee
  • Health Promotion and Community Development
  • Home Care
  • Mental Health
  • Palliative Care and Bereavement
  • Pharmacy/My HealthTeam
  • Planning & Innovation
  • Public Health (including immunizations and healthy sexuality/harm reduction)
  • Respiratory
  • Services to Seniors

Examples of PMH participation in Health Checks annual events:

Joyce Gibson, Community Engagement Liaison with CancerCare MB
  • Input, guidance and expert advice into planning the events (PMH employees, PMH Community Health Assessment)
  • COVID vaccine clinic
  • Information booths that provide an opportunity for participants to learn about PMH programs and services and “ask the health expert”
  • Medication reviews
  • Older adult nutrition screening
  • Presentations
  • Respiratory screening

The Health Checks committee applied for recognition from the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing and the application was accepted as a case study in the 2021-2023 UN Decade of Healthy Ageing progress report.

Canadian section of the Decade of Healthy Ageing Progress Report where Health Checks is one of 19 Canadian initiatives that received recognition:

Congratulations to the Health Checks committee and partners for this international recognition!

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