Making life better for Island seniors

Strengthening Mental Health Services -

When the Province of Prince Edward Island advertised the new position of seniors' health principal advisor, Dr. Michael Corman couldn’t believe his luck.

Corman and his wife Tara fell in love with the Island while on vacation in 2015 and soon began planning how they could raise their young twin boys here. The position was a perfect fit for the medical sociologist, who had spent his career in academia from Qatar to Northern Ireland specializing in issues of health and aging.

“We are Islanders by choice,” says the Los Angeles native who moved to Canada at age 18.

Corman and his team are tasked with creating the Island’s first seniors health and wellness strategy, an overarching policy framework based on best practices. Over the next several months they will consult with stakeholders and Island seniors so the strategy reflects their needs.He expects a lot of people will want to have their say.

“This community is so strong I quickly saw how connected things are –  being from LA you don’t get that at all,” he said.

Corman said Prince Edward Island’s size is its strength when it comes to his work.

“PEI is a rural province, we want to be able to leverage our jurisdictional power,” he said. “Because we are small, it’s possible to develop policies that are complex but innovative and truly reflect the needs of Island seniors.”

When he isn’t working on the strategy, Corman teaches at UPEI, is a walker and runner, and spends time with his young family.

For his part, Corman says he would like to see enhanced home and community care programs, improved acute care (before and after hospital visits) and continued work on continuing care and long-term care.

“It’s challenging to develop policies to reflect the complexities of our population, a diverse rural province – it’s important work,” he said.

“Good policy for seniors is good policy for everyone.”

Visit princeedwardisland.ca/seniors for information on programs and services for seniors.

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