Dementia-Friendly Communities Supporting the Life Trajectory of People Living with Dementia

Implementation of tailored recommendations to help two communities in Quebec adapt their environments to be more dementia-friendly, with a specific focus on supporting continued participation in community life and preferred activities.

Who could benefit from reading this?

  • Individuals and community organizations who are interested in making their communities more dementia-friendly.
  • Municipalities, first responders (including police and firefighters) and community organizations who would like to train their staff in dementia-friendly approaches.
  • Care partners and support networks of people living with dementia who want to improve their communication and support they provide.
  • Individuals and community organizations who want to use the lessons learned and recommended resources from this project to create or modify a similar program.

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? People living with dementia, their care partners and first responders, volunteers, employees of community organizations and municipal authorities in the communities of the Huron-Wendat First Nation and Sherbrooke, Quebec

Project Lead: Research Centre on Aging, affiliated with the Université de Sherbrooke (Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement)

Project partners: The Estrie Alzheimer Society, the Sherbrooke Police Service, the Memphremagog Police Board, the Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation and the Marie-Paule-Sioui-Vincent Health Centre

Project status: complete, 2019-2023

Get in touch:

Julie Lacerte, Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement

Véronique Provencher, Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement

 

Project story

Background:

The Dementia-Friendly Communities Supporting the Life Trajectory of People Living with Dementia project was developed to address the needs of people living with dementia and their family and friend care partners in Sherbrooke, Quebec and Wendake (the Huron-Wendat Nation). Community consultations, including surveys, interviews and focus groups, were used to understand the specific challenges experienced by people living with dementia and their families in each community. Steering committees in each community worked collaboratively with researchers to co-design community action plans tailored to the unique needs of each community, including events and training to raise awareness of dementia, the development of a vulnerable persons registry and provide dementia-friendly training to organizations who interact with and provide services to people living with dementia.

Goals:

To implement community initiatives and training that will improve the well-being and quality of life of people living with dementia and their care partners by:

  • Increasing knowledge and awareness of dementia among first responders, service providers and municipal employees
  • Improving the ability of people living with dementia and care partners to participate in community activities and activities of daily living
  • Increasing awareness of dementia and approaches to include and maintain inclusion of people living with dementia in cultural, recreation and community activities

Milestones and achievements:

  • Development and delivery of dementia-friendly training for police and firefighters
  • Development and implementation of a vulnerable persons registry with the police service (“Let’s get you home” program, also available in French)

Educational Videos

Training and awareness raising

  • Development and implementation of training designed to increase understanding and awareness of dementia, promote kindness and reduce stigma for 711 residents of long term care and retirement homes
  • Delivery of community events focused on cognitive health and raising awareness of dementia, including a film screening and discussion

Impact

Project findings:

Care partners and people living with dementia involved in this project reported:

  • Improved well-being
  • Improved protective factors

Participants who completed dementia-friendly training (including police officers and firefighters), reported:

  • That they acquired knowledge and skills that are relevant to their work(88.6% of training participants)
  • That they would recommend dementia-friendly training to others (83.5% – 100% of training participants)

Participants in community events reported:

  • That their previous perceptions of dementia were changed through their participation (83.5%)

Insights

Lessons learned:

  • Building and maintaining strong relationships with partners such as police and firefighter organizations is a worthwhile investment of time. Allocating resources (both human and financial) to the continued implementation of a program can help ensure the initiative continues to be implemented as priorities and roles change.
  • Stigma and cultural norms surrounding dementia support can have an impact on recruitment and involvement of people living with dementia, which can vary by region and culture. This project team experienced challenges reaching people living with dementia to participate in the study or their steering committees. Efforts to support stigma reduction and the promotion of opportunities for engagement and leadership of Francophone people living with dementia would be beneficial.
  • Ensuring the long-term sustainability of interventions like this one can be improved by empowering involved organizations to collaborate on the development of sustainability plans to ensure buy-in and improve the feasibility of the plan.

Recommended resources:

The project team identified the following resources that were helpful in the development of this project:

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

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