The New Brunswick Dementia Friendly Initiative

Dementia-friendly approaches to help communities in New Brunswick better support people living with dementia.

Who could benefit from reading this?

  • Communities interested in gaining knowledge and understanding of dementia-friendly approaches to become more inclusive of people living with dementia.
  • Individuals, communities and organizations interested in using the lessons learned and recommended resources to support the implementation of dementia-friendly initiatives in their local community.

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? New Brunswick communities that are interested in becoming more inclusive of people living with dementia

Project Lead: New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes

Project partners: Alzheimer’s Society of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Continuing Care Safety Association, Seniors Healthy Aging Secretariat, Dr. Michelle Lafrance

Project status: complete, 2019-2023

Get in touch:

Samantha Hachey, New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes

Project story

Background:

Led by the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes, this project supported communities in New Brunswick to be more inclusive of people living with dementia through the introduction and implementation of dementia-friendly approaches. Training in the Gentle Persuasive Approach was used to reduce stigma and equip care partners and community members with increased knowledge and understanding of dementia and strategies for supporting people living with dementia. Training sessions were conducted virtually to ensure broader accessibility and participation during the Covid-19 pandemic. An online community survey and interviews with care partners were used to better understand the experiences and needs of care partners of people living with dementia. The survey informed conversations and planning for approaches communities can implement to be more inclusive of people living with dementia. Interviews were used to understand the experiences and challenges of care partners supporting people living with dementia and to gather valuable insights into how their involvement with the project impacted their experience as a care partner.

Goals:

The New Brunswick Dementia Friendly Initiative worked to improve the inclusion of people living with dementia and care partners through:

  • Education, training and tools that promote dementia-friendly approaches
  • Increased awareness and understanding of the needs and experiences of people living with dementia and care partners

Milestones and achievements:

  • Development of a Community Toolkit to help communities become more dementia-friendly: English toolkit, French toolkit
  • Development of a community conversation guide
  • Delivery of Gentle Persuasive Approach training and education
  • Delivery of Tai Chi classes to care partners and people living with dementia in targeted communities

Impact

Project findings:

Participants who participated in Tai Chi classes reported:

  • Enjoying the classes and being able to follow the movements (100%)
  • Integrating Tai Chi into their daily routine (87.7%)

Participants who completed the Gentle Persuasive Approach training reported:

  • Increased knowledge and/or skills after completing GPA

Insights

Lessons learned:

  • Establishing trusted community partnerships is essential for dementia-friendly initiatives, which can take time. Before implementing an initiative, assess the community’s readiness to ensure that the community is able to support this work, which allows efforts and resources to be directed where they will have the most impact.
  • Involving people with lived experience of dementia in the project team is crucial. Their insights and knowledge help shape the initiative to be more impactful and relevant for the target audience.
  • When involving care partners, offering options such as online surveys and virtual education sessions can be helpful as they allow flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
  • Social media is a valuable tool for engaging community members, raising awareness, sharing information about the initiative and offering classes or programs of interest to generate support for the initiative. Social media and email can be used for ongoing communication and reminders to support attendance; incentives and personalized reminders are also effective strategies.

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

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