Dementia-Friendly Canada

Education and tools for the general public and professionals working in specific sectors to apply dementia-friendly principles in their work and communities.

Who could benefit from reading this?

  • Professionals in sectors including recreation, library, retail, restaurant, and public transportation, who want to enhance their knowledge and confidence in supporting individuals living with dementia.
  • Individuals and organizations interested in using the lessons learned and resources created by this project to create or support dementia-friendly communities and workplaces, fostering inclusivity and accessibility.

Review the Before you begin section for foundational knowledge that will be helpful for any dementia community initiative.

Key information

Who is this project for? The general public and professionals working in the recreation, retail, restaurant and public transportation

Project Lead: Alzheimer Society of Canada

Project partners: Alzheimer Societies of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Ontario

Project status: complete, 2019-2023, with phase 2 underway (2023-2025)

Get in touch:

Dementia-Friendly Canada, Alzheimer Society of Canada

Project story

Background:

A dementia-friendly community is one where people living with dementia and their families, friends and care partners are included and supported. Building upon existing work across the country, the Dementia-Friendly Canada project created tools, education, and programming to support the development of dementia-friendly communities throughout Canada. This work was informed by consultations with people living with dementia, care partners and targeted professional groups (people working in recreation and library, restaurant and retail, and public transportation sectors). These consultations identified the characteristics that define dementia-friendly communities and the education topics, tools and resources needed to foster their creation. The resulting products and education include public service announcement videos (PSAs), online education modules, webinars, guidelines and tip sheets.

Goals:

Three main goals guided the Dementia-Friendly Canada project:

  • To train Canada’s workforce to be dementia friendly
  • To promote education and awareness of dementia among the general public
  • Promote the sustainability and nationwide growth of the Dementia-Friendly Canada initiative

Milestones and achievements:

Impact

Project findings:

Sector professionals who completed the Building Dementia-Friendly Communities course were satisfied with the educational resources, finding them helpful in boosting their knowledge and confidence in supporting those affected by dementia.

  • Increased self-reported knowledge/skills related to dementia
  • Increased confidence in interacting with people living with dementia
  • Felt that their own actions could increase their organization’s ability to be dementia-friendly

Want to know more? Download this supplementary resource outlining the data collection methods, the evaluation evidence and the tools used. This report from the Alzheimer Society of Canada and their Federation Partners includes additional in-depth information.

 

Experiences:

  • “As soon as the course was completed, I went into the lobby area of our library and removed additional furnishings and re-organized the space for a better flow. I looked for “visual noise” in the space and removed some unnecessary signage.” – Sector professional
  • “It’s a well-designed, thoughtful course that outlines the different areas service providers can focus on. It empowers people in all levels of an organization to have conversations and destigmatize what living with dementia or caring for someone living with dementia means. We all have a role we can play and the barriers that we can chip away can help so many others and hopefully develop thriving and connected communities.” – Sector professional
  • “I think most people are willing to be helpful. Often, we/they just don’t think of things we can do. The course provides ideas to recognize and help situations.” – Person living with dementia

Insights

Lessons learned:

  • The involvement of people living with dementia and care partners throughout a project is invaluable. Support this engagement by creating a plan at the outset of a project for the continuous and comprehensive engagement of people with lived experience, allowing adequate time for meaningful engagement to occur.
  • Translation of materials into other languages should include both a certified translator and team members or partners fluent in the language to verify translations for cultural accuracy and alignment with the organization's communication style.

This project was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada under the Dementia Community Investment (DCI).

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