Dementia Community Investment: Government of Canada funds Community-based Dementia Programs


January 2024

First funded in 2018 with ongoing funding of $4 million per year, the Dementia Community Investment (DCI) supports community-based projects that seek to improve the wellbeing of people living with dementia and family/friend caregivers; and increase knowledge about dementia and its risk/protective factors.

The Government of Canada is providing $7.5 million in funding through the Dementia Strategic Investment to launch nine new projects across the country that will support the Government of Canada's commitment to improve the lives of people living with dementia and the implementation of Canada's national dementia strategy, A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire.

Below is a summary of the new projects receiving funding.

Project Title: Dementia Lifestyle Intervention for Getting Healthy Together (DELIGHT)
Recipient: University of Waterloo
Funding: $979,970 over four years
Project Details: DELIGHT is an 8-week multi-component health behaviour intervention for people living with dementia and family/friend caregivers. It includes exercise and facilitated, social, shared learning focused on health-related topics such as healthy eating, social engagement, sleep quality, mental wellbeing, and physical activity. Building on promising results from pilots of the program, this project seeks to co-adapt DELIGHT to new contexts by working with diverse organizations and audiences so that the program can be implemented in community centres, rural communities, and cultural centres that service linguistic/ethno-cultural minority groups (Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking communities).

Project Title: Intergenerational and Mobile In-Community Interventions to Support People Living with Dementia and those at risk
Recipient: Cape Breton University
Funding: $999,416 over four years
Project Details: This project will develop and implement dementia risk reduction programming in rural and semi-rural communities across Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, for people at risk or living with dementia, and family/friend caregivers. The primary focus is to develop and implement evidence-based, culturally sensitive, and appropriate exercise and musical programming, including intergenerational and mobile approaches to rural communities.

Project Tile: Community-based music intervention as a means to enhance health and wellbeing of people living with dementia and bring support to their family and caregivers
Recipient: University of Ottawa
Funding: $1 million over four years
Project Details: This project will implement and evaluate two community-based music interventions that will enhance the wellbeing and quality of life of people living with dementia and family/friend caregivers, and reduce risk and/or delay the onset and progression of dementia. The project targets at-risk populations (55+) living in the National Capital Region and rural communities in Northern Ontario. The objectives will be achieved by bringing together community organizations, music educators, recreational therapists, social workers, and health professionals to use music as a meaningful resource and intervention.

Project Title: Expansion of the Dementia-Friendly Canada Initiative
Recipient: Alzheimer Society of Canada
Funding: $800,000 over 2 years
Project Details: This project is an expansion of the previously funded DCI project, "Dementia Friendly Canada initiative" (2019-2023), which aimed to train Canada's workforce to be more dementia-friendly and promote an understanding of dementia through the development of awareness campaigns and tools/resources for the public. The Alzheimer Society of Canada's new project seeks to achieve sustainability and scale-up of the Dementia-Friendly Canada programing, utilizing intervention research methods to assess the effectiveness of community-based interventions.

Project Title: Engagement & Empowerment Groups: Place-based community organizing for dementia inclusive communities, Six Nations, Hamilton, Haldimand, Halton
Recipient: Hamilton Council on Aging
Funding: $722,593 over 2 years
Project Details: This project will build on the previously DCI-funded project, "Empowering Dementia-Friendly Communities (EDFC)– Hamilton, Haldimand" (2019-2023), which empowered people living with dementia to contribute to influential engagement and empowerment work in the community. This project will further develop and expand engagement and empowerment groups in Hamilton Haldimand, Halton, and Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario; establish a regional network of people living with dementia, facilitators and stakeholders to develop a sustainability action plan and guide to creating engagement and empowerment groups; and assess the outcomes and effectiveness of these groups and share learnings.

Project Title: An Action Guide for Building Capacity: Supporting Meaningful Participation of People Living with Dementia
Recipient: University of British Columbia
Funding: $798,216 over 2 years
Project Details: This project seeks to use the results of the previously DCI-funded Building Capacity Project (2019-2023) with an established theoretical framework (the Evidence Based System for Innovation Support framework) to create and implement an Action Guide designed to support the spread and scale up of the Building Capacity approach to other communities. The Guide will focus on helping community organizations create person-centred approaches for dementia inclusive programs and activities. People living with dementia will play a lead role in co-designing the Action Guide, advising and assisting with its implementation, and overseeing its evaluation. The Action Guide will also be designed to reflect and adapt to the local cultural context and its values wherever it is implemented.

Project Title: Our Dementia Journey Journal
Recipient: Saint Elizabeth Health Care
Funding: $699,535 over 2 years
Project Details: This project is a continuation of the previously funded DCI project, "Evaluating co-designed tools for strong partnerships in the dementia care triad" (2019-2022). Our Dementia Journey Journal (ODJJ) is an interactive tool designed to enable sustainable relationship-building between people living with dementia, their caregivers and care providers of people living with dementia. The ODJJ enhances opportunities for shared decision-making about care, and is a paper-based tool, digital tool, and mobile application. The tool includes a First Nations version and is available in English, French, Hindi and Punjabi. The second iteration of the ODJJ would spread the journal to long-term care homes across Canada, First Nations communities, and South Asian communities; evaluate the tool and identify any adaptations to the ODJJ that new communities would need to ensure the cultural and linguistic relevancy to their circumstances; and develop evidence-based marketing and sustainability plans to continue the delivery of the ODJJ across Canada.

Project Title: Tech-empowered Healthy Living for Seniors with Dementia
Recipient: Human Endeavour Inc.
Funding: $799,810 over 2 years
Project Details: Tablets (pre-programmed in 15 languages) will be provided to people living with dementia in Ontario in year 1, followed by expansion to Alberta in year 2, along with related training and support. The smart tablets receive voice commands and send voice reminders and prompts for important activities of daily living (socializing, bedtime, medication, meals, etc.). The tablet also interacts with caregivers when tasks are not completed for potential intervention. Tablet-use training sessions will be provided to frontline workers of partner organizations. Illustrative manuals will also be provided for people living with dementia and caregivers and there will be a telephone helpline for real-time assistance.

Project Title: Using Therapeutic and Culture-Based Approaches to Support the Well-Being of Informal Caregivers of Red River Métis with Dementia
Recipient: Manitoba Métis Federation
Funding: $602,608 over 2 years
Project Details: This project seeks to improve the quality of life of Red River Métis people living with dementia and their caregivers across Manitoba. The project includes: culturally specific cognitive behavioural therapy counselling for Métis caregivers; cultural engagement days for people living with dementia and their caregivers; virtual discussion groups for caregivers facilitated by elders; and a wellness communication campaign that will share the lived experiences of caregivers and provide information on risk and protective factors of dementia throughout the community via the Red River Métis newsletter.

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