Albertans have expressed a desire to remain in their homes and communities as they age. In order to support individuals to remain at home, integrated community-based health and social services are required that optimize individuals independence, quality of life and wellbeing, including those Albertans living with dementia.
Enhancing social engagement of people living with dementia is a key component of person-centred care. Advancing Person-Centred Social Engagement for People Living with Dementia will establish St. Michael’s as a community hub, a place where people living with dementia are part of an active, engaged, vibrant, and busy social environment. This hub will provide opportunities to interact with community members in meaningful and purposeful ways, where interests, needs, culture and backgrounds are respected.
Building Resilience in Caregivers (BRiC) is an 8-week program for people living with dementia and their caregivers. With caregivers as key partners within the healthcare team, the focus of the program builds resilience in caregivers by reducing their social isolation, increasing their awareness and understanding of dementia while slowing the cognitive decline of those living with dementia. As a result, Albertans living with dementia can remain in their homes and community for as long as possible.
Creating Conversations Toolkit project will revise (Canadianize) an activity toolkit developed in Scotland for persons with dementia, then pilot and evaluate it in Alberta. The purpose of the toolkit is to reduce social isolation for persons with dementia by providing activities to increase communication between the caregiver and the individual with dementia as well as increase conversation and interaction between persons with dementia. As the toolkit has a gardening theme, we will also be introducing a gardening-based activity to provide a fun, multi-sensory experience that includes physical, cognitive, emotional, and social elements.
The Music2LINK program is an intergenerational-based program which pairs junior and senior high school students with senior care centre residents experiencing dementia over the school year to engage through the medium of music. Music has been shown to assist with present moment orientation, which will support persons living with dementia to more easily engage in uplifting activities with their student friends. Music based activities, self-care, and dementia care knowledge will also be offered to family and friends through monthly Care Partner events.
Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an evidence-based art therapy program for people living with dementia. This initiative will bring OMA to rural central Alberta and expand the capacity of those working with dementia clients who live in the community as well as provide new volunteer opportunities to youth in our community. Training facilitators for OMA will allow the Rimbey community to be able to share successes in surrounding communities.
Our goal is to support people living with dementia and their care partners by increasing community involvement and reducing stigma. By understanding of the barriers and factors leading to isolation, we will increase awareness, provide information, and develop strategies with the community to create and maintain inclusive and welcoming dementia-friendly environments. Through volunteer connections, people living with dementia and their care partners will be engaged in design, delivery, and evaluation to ensure their unique needs and insights are reflected in activities and lead project development.
The Dinner Club supports vulnerable seniors, particular those living with dementia and their caregivers, by providing social interaction, educational opportunities and entertainment, as well as respite for caregivers, by gathering over a home-cooked meal.
The Camrose Public Library (CPL) Dementia Project seeks to increase engagement, decrease isolation, and provide affordable resources for people living with dementia along with their caregivers and families. Programs like Cycling Without Age and materials such as caregiver support kits, will give support and encouragement to people with dementia and their caregivers.
Educate the health workforce in Alberta to identify, engage, and support family caregivers of people with dementia. Caregiver-Centered Care Education will equip healthcare providers to engage and communicate with family caregivers as partners in care, recognize the caregivers’ own needs, and assist them in accessing services and supports.
The Dementia Friendly Transportation project is a program for people living with dementia and their caregivers to access affordable, accessible, and safe transportation. Provided by compassionate and trained volunteer drivers, this program will help keep those living with dementia active in their communities by fostering relationship building and ensuring individuals have the chance to take part in activities they enjoy.
CapitalCare Foundation, CapitalCare and Alzheimer Society of Alberta will collaboratively provide fine arts programming for those persons living with dementia in both care settings and the community. The programs will span ballet, choral, symphony and visual art experiences.
The Village Improv for Alzheimer’s program (VIA) engages people living with dementia in the joy of self-expression and performing. Through VIA participants experience a deeper feeling of belonging where they are recognized, valued, and validated. This initiative will expand the VIA program by training up to 25 caregivers in how to offer the program in their communities.
The Young Onset Dementia project, piloted in the Edmonton zone, will see the development of a framework and tools aimed specifically at those affected by young onset dementia. The framework and tools will help build the capacity of the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories to best respond to people living with young onset dementia and their partners in care across the province.
YouQuest Young Onset Dementia Community is an evidence-based community program partnering with SAIT and the University of Calgary. YouQuest provides a place of belonging that offers choices and active participation in an inviting recreational environment. It will offer a weekly, full-day program using volunteers to assist people with young onset dementia to participate in individually planned activities.