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.

What connects us~Ce qui nous lie is a collaborative partnership of healthcare, community-based organizations, government, media, and academic organizations whose aim is to create an inter-connected community for all. Through shared activities, designed to cultivate social and cultural environments worth living in, the project:

  1. establishes an enriched web of resources in the local community;
  2. links arts/culture, mental health, and academic sectors; and
  3. helps decrease stigma at the intersection of Alzheimer’s and other related disorders, mental illness, and aging.


Who is this project for?

This project is for people living with Alzheimer’s and related disorders, their carers (personal and professional), and the public.

Resources this project has created

  • A range of new virtual and hybrid activities (e.g., community film screenings, creative dance, art links, reminiscences, laughter yoga, and art therapy).
  • Community Care Network, a Volunteer driven initiative which aims to reduce social isolation through weekly calls
  • A resource list and virtual map of the local community
  • In-house library of first-person narratives about living with- and caring in Alzheimer’s and related disorders, including a list of blogs.
  • A mechanism to situate undergraduate students to participate in various aspects of the partnership to train the next generation of researchers.
  • An iterative system for tracking participation and using evaluative feedback to refine activities for persons living with Alzheimer’s and related disorders and their carers (personal, professional).
  • An academic library of journal articles and gray literature (e.g., stigma, BIPOC-related, etc.).

3 Key Takeaways

  1. By working alongside project partners to build on existing strengths, identify challenges and create action initiatives to transform them, participatory processes value and integrate the experiential knowledge of all participants.
  2. By working together to create shared arts-related activities and events, our vision is for an interconnected community for all.
  3. We use a mix of social network analysis, audit trails, surveys, and ethnographic methods to provide iterative feedback to refine created activities and capture key mechanisms of transformation(s) over time.

Project Details

Location: Montreal, Quebec

Duration: 2019-2023

Organization Lead(s): Culture and Mental Health Research Unit (CMHRU) Jewish General Hospital & McGill University

Project Team:

  • Anna Agliett, Manager, National Center for Dance Therapy

  • Rebecca Barnstaple, Dance therapist National Center for Dance Therapy

  • Patricia Belchior, Co-principal investigator, What connects us~Ce qui nous lie; Associate professor, School of Physical & Occupational Therapy, McGill University; Researcher, Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de Montréal (CRIUGM)

  • Aileen Borruel, Laughter yoga Facilitator and Founder of Joyful Connections

  • Arnaud Francioni, Project communications and research assistant, What connects us~Ce qui nous lie

  • Florian Grond, Project sound design and consultation, What connects us~Ce qui nous lie

  • Carol Jones, Dancer/choreographer and Dance therapist, National Center for Dance Therapy

  • Marilyn Lajeunesse, Educational Program Officer, Sharing the Museum, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

  • Marie Christine Le Bourdais, Director of Programs & Services, Alzheimer Society of Montreal

  • Keven Lee, Ethnographer and movement specialist, What connects us~Ce qui nous lie; PhD candidate, Rehabilitation, McGill University

  • Anne-Laurence Mongrain, Art therapist, Alzheimer Society of Montreal

  • Melissa Park, Nominated principal investigator, What connects us~Ce qui nous lie ; Associate professor, School of Physical & Occupational Therapy, McGill University; Researcher at the Lady Davis Institute/ Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR) (connectednarratives.org)

  • Ainslie Quilliam, Educator Drop-In Program, Cummings Centre

  • Christian Sénéchal, Director, Les Arts et la Ville

  • Philip Silverberg, Founder of the Au Contraire Film Festival and Urban Pardes, Au Contraire Film Festival

  • Anabel Sinn & Dave Snow, creative leads, What connects us~Ce qui nous lie; Interdisciplinary design, (addtothenoise.net)

  • Lindsay Sobol, Coordinator Groups and Activities, Alzheimer Society of Montreal

  • Andrés Solis, Project film maker, What connects us~Ce qui nous lie

  • Sheri Stock, Supervisor Drop-In program, Cummings Centre

  • Tom Valente, Co-principal investigator, Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

  • Chesley Walsh, Developer and coordinator, What connectsus~Ce qui nous lie Community Care Networks; Coordinator, Volunteers-in-Partnership, Jewish General Hospital

  • Meghan Williams, Director of Support Services, Alzheimer Groupe Inc.

  • Seiyan Yang, Project coordinator and research associate, What connects us~Ce qui nous lie

Project Partner(s):
    • Volunteers In Partnership, Jewish General Hospital
    • National Centre for Dance Therapy, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens
    • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
    • Les Arts et La Ville
    • Joyful Connections
    • Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital
    • Cummings Centre 
    • Au Contraire Film Festival, Urban Pardes
    • Alzheimer Society of Montreal
    • Alzheimer Groupe Inc.


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