Government of Canada Invests in Projects that Raise Awareness of Dementia and Promote Dementia-inclusive Communities


January 2022

The Public Health Agency of Canada is providing more than $9.5 million for 15 projects across the country. These projects, which support the implementation of Canada's national dementia strategy, will raise awareness about dementia with a focus on reducing risk and stigma, improving the quality of life of people living with dementia and family/friend caregivers, and enabling dementia-inclusive communities.

The projects announced today are funded through two dementia programs.

  • Thirteen projects are receiving funding through the first open solicitation under the Dementia Strategic Fund (DSF). The projects are focused on raising awareness of actions that can be taken to help prevent dementia, reduce stigma, and support communities to be more dementia-inclusive.
  • Two projects are receiving funding through the Dementia Community Investment (DCI) which supports community-based projects aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of people living with dementia and family/friend caregivers, increasing knowledge about dementia and its risk factors, and evaluating the effectiveness of project interventions.

Projects funded under the Dementia Strategic Fund

Artful Moments: Shared Learning
Art Gallery of Hamilton
Funding: up to $275,160

Artful Moments is an arts-based program created specifically for people living with dementia that provides a space for program participants to discuss art and explore art-making activities. This new funding will support expansion of the existing Artful Moments program through the development and sharing of a series of best practices and approaches to support provincial museums and galleries in implementing similar programs at other sites. Public art institutions that participate in this project will help raise awareness of dementia and reduce stigma by becoming more visibly inclusive, accessible, and welcoming of people living with dementia.

Sharing Dance with People with Dementia
Canada's National Ballet School
Funding: up to $716,000

This project will promote and highlight the ability of people living with dementia to be creative, playful, and imaginative in an effort to reduce stigma and promote dementia-inclusive communities across Canada. The project will also help build a culture where dance practices are included in daily life for people living with dementia and help increase opportunities for people living with dementia to access dance. Through this project, communities will be better informed about the abilities of people living with dementia and able to offer dementia-inclusive dance activities in a non-stigmatizing environment. Canada's National Ballet School will also produce a research-based film to challenge stigmatizing assumptions about how people living with dementia engage with and thrive as dancers.

Promote practices to prevent or counter the stigmatization of seniors with dementia in their community and promote their inclusion
Centre collégial d'expertise en gérontologie du Cégep de Drummondville
Funding: up to $378,597

This project will identify best practices for stigma reduction and dementia-inclusive communities that will be used as the basis for videos and online training to raise awareness and increase understanding about dementia among the general population and first responders in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Videos will be projected on screens strategically placed in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, focused on areas where a new neighbourhood that integrates specialized dementia housing may be developed. Training programs for nurses and first responders offered by the Cégep de Drummondville, the Campus Notre-Dame-de-Foy, and Le Centre RISC would integrate the materials and knowledge gained from this project, which will help future care providers respond better to the needs of caregivers and people living with dementia.

Open Minds, Open Hearts
Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
Funding: up to $611,720

This project will help to combat stigma and increase dementia inclusiveness by fostering social relationships and a sense of belonging between college students, people living with dementia and caregivers. To do this, students from three colleges in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and people living with dementia within those surrounding communities will participate in a 10-week program with guided intergenerational group activities, including those focused on celebrating culture and languages, promoting physical well-being and encouraging creative expression. During the activities, meaningful moments and interviews between college students, people living with dementia and caregivers will be captured and used to create up to 18 docu-films that will be shared publicly across local community organizations, public transportation systems, nursing, retirement homes and hospitals, high schools, and online.

Acquainting Canadian Seniors with State of the Art Dementia Prevention Strategies: Up Close and Personal
Cyber-Seniors: Connecting Generations
Funding: up to $692,604

This project, focused in Ontario and New Brunswick, offers a mix of awareness-raising activities. Those activities include online training on how to prevent dementia through healthy behaviours and intergenerational discussions on how to include people living with dementia within the community. An app will be developed to facilitate access to learning modules. Participants will be able to try out the latest technologies designed to facilitate the adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviours through active learning centres where they will be shown how games and other methods can be used to boost cognitive activity and physical exercise. Devices such as steering wheels and pedalers will be used to generate input signals for game software and provide exercise opportunities for players.

Stronger Together: Making Ottawa and Renfrew County Dementia Inclusive
Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County
Funding: up to $693,296

This project enhances, evaluates and extends the existing Dementia Inclusive program within the National Capital Region and surrounding counties. It will also serve as a scalable model for elsewhere in Canada. Working with a large number of community partners, the project will create a media campaign and training that includes new content on brain health, how to reduce risk, and ways to help protect against dementia, as well as videos featuring personal stories of people living with dementia and caregivers to build awareness and reduce stigma. An interactive virtual reality component will enhance existing Dementia Friendly training and new training modules will be developed for specific sectors (i.e. paramedics, fire services, public transportation, banks and retail). The project will enhance the Dementia 613 app to help locate, promote, and rate businesses that are dementia-inclusive in the region.

Luci: a personalized, coach-assisted mobile application for adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to reduce risk of dementia in middle-aged adults and young seniors with modifiable risk factors
Lucilab Inc.
Funding: up to $716,000

This project will produce a national coaching app to educate at-risk Canadians aged 45-70 about dementia risk factors and motivate them to adopt healthy lifestyle habits with ongoing support from tele-counsellors. The app will focus on exercise, nutrition, and cognitive engagement, and be available in both official languages on smartphones, tablets, and computers.

Reducing dementia-related stigma by using person-centred language to describe responsive behaviours in hospital admissions
Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto
Funding: up to $714,350

This project will develop and deliver an education and coaching program for health professionals working in acute care settings to reduce stigma linked to behaviours, language, and practices, including how patients are identified and tracked in medical records. This project will also develop guidelines to support the implementation of person-centred language in various forms of communication, such as progress notes, consult notes, and other areas within patient charts. By reducing the use of stigmatizing language and focusing instead on the use of person-centred language, the project is hoping to improve the experience of patients who enter the health system in Toronto's Academic Health Science Network hospitals.

ABCs of a Healthy Brain – Dementia Awareness in the West and North
RésoSanté Colombie-Britannique
Funding: up to $681,162

This project aims to inform, equip and support Francophone minorities living in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Yukon on preventing and reducing the risk of developing dementia, and deals with the stigma faced by people living with dementia. The tools and resources developed based on scientific progress will be shared through awareness campaigns, regional resource directories and a community-based support program to promote healthy lifestyle habits. The research aspect of the project will first be used to document dementia in Northern and Western Francophone minority communities. As a result, the needs of this population will be identified, which will enable the engagement of health authorities to assess potential solutions for optimizing dementia diagnosis and treatment processes for the target groups.

Awareness Builds Connections in Dementia-Friendly Communities (ABCD Initiative)
Rural Development Network
Funding: up to $627,113

This project will provide seed funding to five rural communities to pilot strategies supporting dementia-inclusive communities and stigma reduction. The results of this work will be used to produce easy-to-follow implementation guides outlining the steps communities can take to become more dementia friendly. The guides will be available online and through mobile exhibits, which will also showcase project findings and raise awareness. These guides are expected to benefit rural and remote communities in Alberta.

Developing Supportive Neighbourhood-Built Environment to Foster Mobility, Engagement and Social Participation among Community-Dwelling Adults Living with Dementia
Simon Fraser University
Funding: up to $715,801

This project will identify features of neighbourhoods that affect the mobility of people living with dementia and develop an easy-to-use tool to assess environments supportive of people living with dementia. Guidelines for dementia-inclusive communities that can be used by the public, as well as decision makers, will also be developed. By supporting dementia-inclusive community design and providing a supportive neighbourhood environment, it is hoped that people living with dementia will be able to remain engaged in their communities, which is crucial to enhancing their quality of life.

Culturally-Appropriate Dementia Awareness & Education Project for Diverse Immigrant Communities
Funding: up to $715,813

This project will develop and deliver a culturally appropriate awareness and educational workshop series in various languages (including Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Farsi) to immigrant communities in British Columbia. The workshop series will include modules and resources on brain health and dementia risk factors, as well as mental health, social isolation, diet, exercise, smoking, hypertension, and diabetes. It is hoped that this project will encourage the adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviours and will help reduce or delay dementia among immigrants.

Mind Over Matter® – A Comprehensive Brain Health Awareness Campaign
Women's Brain Health Initiative
Funding: up to $716,000

This project will enhance the existing Mind Over Matter®(MOM) program that highlights unique risks for women 35 and over by adding a virtual coaching mobile app, podcasts and videos that encourage users to adopt healthy behaviours, educate Canadians on dementia risk factors, reduce stigma, and provide practical tips, tools, and rewards. Once complete, the MOM app will address the Six Pillars of Brain Health (physical exercise, healthy eating, mental stimulation, proper sleep, stress reduction, and social interaction), automatically track activities, and provide tailored curated content.

Projects funded under the Dementia Community Investment

Enhancing Minds in Motion®as a Virtual Program Delivery Model for People Living with Dementia and Their Care Partners
Alzheimer Society of Ontario (ASO)
Funding: up to $716,140

This project will adapt and enhance ASO's existing Minds in Motion®program by offering it virtually in Ontario, as well as in both official languages. Minds in Motion®is an 8-week, evidence-based program that incorporates physical activity, socialization and cognitive stimulation for people living with dementia and family/friend caregivers. A virtual version of the program will help address and overcome the social isolation felt by people living with dementia, their family, friends and caregivers due to COVID-19 public health measures. A virtual program will also allow rural populations and participants access to resources and supports that have primarily been available in urban settings. In addition, by making the program available in French, this project is expected to increase its access to various communities. The ASO will share the enhanced program with all Alzheimer Societies across the country through its existing networks.

Ten Online Modules Over Ten Weeks for Adult Learners (TOTAL) eLearning for Family/Friend Care Partners of People Living with Dementia
McGill University
Funding: up to $758,430

This project will adapt and enhance McGill University's existing bilingual Dementia Education Program to the current COVID-19 context by using a virtual learning platform to educate and support family/friend care partners of people living with dementia. The goal of TOTAL eLearning is to increase knowledge about dementia and decrease social isolation experienced by informal care partners. By creating a flexible and accessible virtual learning platform, this project will also enable rural populations to access resources and supports that have primarily been only available in urban settings. McGill University's Dementia Education Program will reach diverse communities in Montreal, as well as remote communities in rural Quebec. The future goal is to expand the reach nationally through partnerships with the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration and Aging, and Dementia Advocacy Canada.

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