Why does sustainability matter? Planning early for sustainability increases the likelihood of maintaining the dementia initiative after implementation ends.

What is sustainability? Sustainability means different things to different people. Sustainability can refer to the project team’s ability to deliver some or all aspects of a dementia initiative beyond the funding period. Sustainability can also refer to efforts to sustain the outcomes and benefits achieved over a defined period of time. Recipients of Dementia Community Investment (DCI) funding recommend planning for the sustainability of an initiative from the start of the project.

Who should be involved in sustainability planning? When teams start thinking about sustainability, they should take the time to consider who should be involved in these conversations. At minimum, it is advisable to involve: people who will be involved in implementation of the initiative, people who will make decisions about the initiative (after the project is finished), people impacted by the initiative, and subject matter experts.

What should you consider for sustainability planning? There are a number of tools available to help teams plan for sustainability. Identifying who should be involved in sustainability planning, clearly defining the long-term vision and goals for the initiative, and considering how it might continue and/or evolve are helpful first steps.

Successful approaches to sustainability used by DCI projects:

  • Consider creating collaborative partnerships with people living with dementia, local community groups, and organizations that can help champion your initiative, like the Building Capacity project. Time to develop these partnerships should be planned for in your initiative.
  • Consider how an initiative might be scaled up or modified to be used in a different context (for example, a capacity building approach or a “train-the trainer” model, used by the Together for Fun project). These groups can then continue to deliver the initiative after the funding has ended.
  • Some DCI projects used an online education model to support the sustainability of their initiative, as these online education resources can be accessed beyond the funding period.

Resources for sustainability

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