What is this project about and why is it important?

This project is supported by the Canadian Dementia Learning and Resource Network at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada under the Dementia Community Investment (DCI). These funded projects are actively developing and testing tools, resources, and approaches to promote the well-being of persons living with dementia and care partners.

The main goal of the Dementia-Friendly Communities Supporting the Life Trajectory of People Living with Dementia project is to develop and evaluate age-friendly community initiatives that consider the needs and culture of people living with dementia, their family and care partners. With the goal of keeping people living with dementia in their homes as long as possible, this project will examine how they interact within their communities, including with first responders, pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, community centres and city employees. This will help to form the basis of recommendations and action plans for communities to become more dementia inclusive.

The research team from the Research Centre on Aging is interested in creating dementia friendly communities by mobilizing a diversity of actors from various sectors to better support older adults living with cognitive impairment who are living at home and their families.  This project is using an approach BY and FOR older adults, which will enable people with cognitive impairment and care partners to be involved in the design and implementation of the initiatives identified in the action plans so that they reflect their daily realities, values and cultural context.

One of the initiatives implemented is a training component for family and community members. The training will focus on improving general knowledge about dementia and teach different cognitive strategies to facilitate interactions with people living with dementia. A second initiative is the “connected community” component. This will involve implementing technology in the participant’s home to support their daily activities. We hope that these initiatives will help people living with dementia and their caregivers to be better engaged in their community and to live healthier lives.

Who is this project for?

This project is for people living with dementia and their caregivers but it also involves community organizations, volunteers, first responders and other members of the community who interact with older adults.

Resources this project has created

  • Communication strategies for family members and care partners of people living with dementia: video
  • Training material for first responders (inspired by the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s material to address the needs of organizations)
  • Public awareness material (in development)
  • Adaptation of a program to prevent wandering (flyer and information form)

 

3 Key Takeaways

  1. It is essential to give a voice to people living with dementia so we can better understand their wants and needs.
  2. The health care system can’t be the only actor involved in improving quality of life for people living with dementia; community members must also be mobilized.
  3. It is important to promote the social participation of people living with cognitive impairment while mitigating the risks that may affect their physical (e.g., falls) and moral (e.g. stigma, exclusion, anxiety) integrity.

Project Details

Location: Sherbrooke and Wendake (Huron-wendat Nation), Québec

Duration: 2019-2023

Organization Lead(s): Le Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement at the University of Sherbrooke

Project Team:

  • Veronique Provencher, Ph.D, Project lead

  • Chantal Viscogliosi, Co-investigator

  • Hélène Pigot, Co-investigator

  • Émilie Dugré, Coordinator

  • Julie Lacerte, Research professional

Project Partner(s):

Members of our Advisory Board include:

  • From the Sherbrooke community:
    • Senior and community development consultant: Paul Thibault
    • Caregivers: Ginette Desmarais and Ghislaine Bourque
    • Société Alzheimer de l’Estrie: Sandra Asselin
    • APPUI pour les proches-aidants: Sonia Leclerc
    • Accorderie: Catherine Larouche
  • From the Wendake community:
    • Centre de santé Marie-Paule-Sioui-Vincent: Pauline Thivierge 
    • Elders: Diane Andicha Picard and Christine Lainé
    • Caregiver: Edith Picard
    • Chiefs: Dave Laveau and René Picard
    • Community development consultant for age-friendly communities: Richard Côté
    • Youth and culture representative: Sabryna Godbout

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