Together for Fun!

Leisure-based program delivered by trained facilitators to teach care partners of people living with dementia to create meaningful and enjoyable shared moments using simple recreation activities.

Who could benefit from reading this?

  • People living with dementia and care partners who would like to participate in the Together for Fun! program at an established site.
  • Service providers and community organizations who would like to receive training to offer Together for Fun! in their local community.
  • Individuals and organizations interested in using the lessons learned and recommended resources 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 and their care partners

Project Lead: Alzheimer Society of Granby and region

Project partners: Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Dalhousie University, Fédération Québécoise du Loisir en Institution (FQLI), Fédération Québécoise des Centres Communautaires de loisir (FQCCL)

Project status: complete, complete, 2019-2023

Get in touch:

Community organizations interested in this program are asked to contact
Hélène Carbonneau, PhD, l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Project story

Background:

Together for Fun! focuses on the development of meaningful leisure experiences between care partners and people living with dementia by creating enjoyable moments of connection. Originally developed by researchers at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, the program was offered by the Alzheimer Society of Granby and region for several years prior to the launch of this project, which adapted the program for implementation across nine different community settings. A virtual adaptation of the program was also developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Led by trained facilitators, dyads of care partners and people living with dementia attend this half-day program once per week where they learn and engage in simple recreation activities that can be repeated at home. The focus of the activities is to create enjoyable experiences, rather than achieving a particular outcome or completing an activity in a specific way. Following the shared activity, the care partners participate in a support group where they share their impressions of the activity and learn skills to replicate similar activities at home. During this time, participants living with dementia engage in a group activity together.

Goals:

The Together for Fun! program improves the well-being of people living with dementia and their care partners by:

  • Increasing care partners’ knowledge and skills to use simple recreation activities to create enjoyable moments of connection
  • Fostering a strengths-based approach to the skills and abilities of people living with dementia
  • Promoting social inclusion and meaningful social interactions among participants
  • Creating shared opportunities for success and enjoyment for both care partners and people living with dementia

Milestones and achievements:

  • Creation of comprehensive training, including activity binders, guides for participants and facilitators (facilitator guide available through completion of the training)
  • Creation of tools and materials to support communities in their promotion, recruitment and delivery of the program
  • Successful implementation of the program in 7 rural and urban community centres in Quebec and Nova Scotia
  • Successful implementation of the program (in English) in 2 community centres in Quebec and 1 in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Impact

Project findings:

90% of care partners who participated reported positive impacts from this program.

Care partner participants reported:

  • Increased knowledge and/or skills
  • Improved well-being
  • Improved health behaviours
  • Improved social inclusion

Participants living with dementia reported:

  • Improved well-being

Experiences:

“What I got out of this program is just good! It’s not complicated. Personally, even for my mom, it’s just positive because it’s good for our minds.” – Care partner

“I assure you that my [loved one]… he’s waiting for Friday to come. It brings much happiness, a lot of happiness. He doesn’t want it to end.” – Care partner

“It’s important for me not to hide…We want to paint a picture of a perfect care partner, but the facilitators have been like therapists for us. I thank them for making everyone very comfortable…and that’s what makes me happy today with “Together for Fun”. – Care partner

Insights

Lessons learned:

  • This program used a train-the-trainer model, where facilitators received training (either in person or via Zoom) to offer the program in their respective communities. In-person training was found to be most effective.
  • When using Zoom to deliver the program to dyads of care partners and people living with dementia, the project team offered training and extra support to help participants learn to use the platform, which otherwise could have been a barrier to their participation.
  • There may be concerns related to privacy and disclosing a dementia diagnosis for participants living in a small community where group participants might know one another.
  • Hosting the program at a local community center is recommended, as participants felt a sense of belonging and community.

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

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