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.

CIRCA-CA is a conversation support tool for people living with dementia and their care partners that uses carefully curated multimedia (photographs, short videos, and audio) to stimulate conversation, social engagement, and promote reminiscing and relationship building. First created in 2001, this current project has worked with older adults to create content tailored to a Canadian audience. CIRCA-CA is web-based and can be accessed from a tablet or computer to be used one on one, in a small group or as an engaging independent activity.


Who is this project for?

CIRCA-CA is for people living with dementia and their care partners. In this project, twenty community organizations in Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are each training five people in local community groups, for a total of 100 people. These individuals will then support people living with dementia and their care partners to use CIRCA-CA as a group or one-to-one activity .


3 Key Takeaways

  1. CIRCA-CA is co-created with older adults (including people living with dementia and care partners) to ensure the multi-media used is relevant. Multimedia content from the 1940’s to the 1980’s is used to capture a mix of relevant historical events, global trends, advertising, and popular culture.
  2. Using Canadian-specific multimedia to stimulate conversation and memories allows people living with dementia to engage with familiar material in a comfortable setting where there are no “right” or “wrong” answers.
  3. CIRCA-CA promotes reminiscing focused on popular culture and historical events which can spark unexpected memories and support conversation among individuals who may not have a shared history.


Project Details

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Duration: 2021 - 2023

Organization Lead(s): Dementia Ageing Technology Engagement (DATE) Lab, University Health Network

Project Team:

  • Dr. Arlene Astell, Principal Investigator

  • Shyrose Virani, Lab Coordinator

  • Dr. Kristina Kokorelias, Evaluation Lead

  • Juanita Atton, Training Coordinator

  • Erica Dove, Contents Production

  • Shane Avila, Contents Production

  • Saranjah Kanagarajah, Contents Production

  • Shoshana Green, Local Coordinator - Saskatchewan

  • Ivan Panyavin, Project Assistant, Saskatchewan

  • Emma Rossnagel, Local Coordinator, British Columbia

This project is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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