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.

COSTI’s new initiative will conduct evaluation research focused on two key elements of programming, language and culture for people living with dementia and their caregivers. The research will evaluate COSTI Seniors Day program for people living with dementia and evaluate caregivers support and education groups in 5 ethno- linguistic communities.

The evaluation will produce important knowledge of how language specific and culturally based programming influence and impact the functioning of people living with dementia while in a program and at home. The evaluation will also inform the development of a blueprint for organizing and implementing an Education and Support group for family/caregivers of people living with dementia from ethno- cultural families.

A secondary component of the project will be to promote awareness of dementia and its risk factors through web-based information on social media.

Given the growing geriatric population and our country’s diversified population, it is increasingly important to understand the impacts of language and culture on people diagnosed with dementia and their families/caregivers, through a cultural and equity lens. Specialized programming will allow ethno-cultural communities with cultural and language barriers to equitably access health care services and optimize outcomes.

In a US study by Jacquelyn M. Lotter, she suggested that “the cultural sensitivity of care providers plays a direct role in maintaining the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, a lack of cultural sensitivity can lead to frustrated residents, exclusion, aversion to standard care and poor nutrition.”

Who is this project for?

This project is intended for people living with dementia and their family and friend caregivers from ethno-cultural communities in the Greater Toronto Area.

3 Key Takeaways

COSTI’s project will develop a blueprint for organizing and implementing an Education and Support group for family/caregivers of people living with dementia from ethno-cultural families. This project will help to:

  1. Optimize the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia and/or their family/friend caregivers by developing resources or tools that equip family/friend caregivers to support people living with dementia while minimizing the impact on their own quality of life.
  2. Promote awareness of dementia and its risk factors by supporting innovative approaches that tackle stigma and promote compassion and support by developing a Manual on Training Caregivers to Host S&E Groups, a Handbook on Organizing S&E Groups, and a website to build community capacity to engage and support people living with dementia and their family/friend caregivers.
  3. Undertake intervention research to assess the effectiveness of the initiative and apply this knowledge to support expansion of the project’s reach to agencies working with ethnocultural people living with dementia in five cities in Ontario.

Project Details

Location: Greater Toronto Area, Ontario

Duration: 2020-2023

Organization Lead(s): COSTI Immigrant Services

Project Team:

  • Vince Pietropaolo, General Manager Family and Mental Health, Project Lead

  • Ted Zhang, Project Manager

Project Partner(s):
  • Abrigo Centre
  • Carefirst Seniors and Community Services Association
  • Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples
  • Punjabi Community Health Services

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