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Government of Canada invests in Dementia data and community-based projects

Improving the quality of life of people living with dementia and caregivers in communities across Canada

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced six new initiatives that will help implement Canada's national dementia strategy. These initiatives represent an investment of more than $4.8 million over four years—and will develop tools, resources and knowledge to better support individuals living with dementia, their families, and caregivers and to help make communities dementia-inclusive.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is funding two of these projects through the Dementia Community Investment (DCI). The Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging will receive funding to gather and share program findings and best practices from all the DCI projects to better inform dementia policy and program community across Canada.

The University of Waterloo will also receive funding for its Moving, Eating and Living Well with Dementia project. The project will promote the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia and caregivers by building community capacity through wellness services in both rural and urban communities. 

Four additional projects are being funded through PHAC's Enhanced Dementia Surveillance Program:

  • The Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging will receive funding to develop an enhanced dementia surveillance system based on an evidence-informed, multi-faceted and holistic person-centered framework.
  • The University of Ottawa will receive funding to build on the existing Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN). This project will create a longitudinal cohort of dyads examining the experiences of individuals living with dementia and caregivers in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
  • Laurentian University will receive funding to work with national Inuit, First Nations and Métis partner organizations to conduct a feasibility study to develop acceptable and appropriate methods for improving dementia surveillance among Indigenous populations.
  • McMaster University will receive funding toward the early identification of people living with dementia and those at risk of developing dementia. The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging collects national data from over 50,000 participants between the ages of 45 and 85, and will follow them over 20 years.

The Government of Canada is supporting people living with dementia and caregivers, and increasing information to enable policy makers and support organizations to implement actions that will improve the quality of life of those living with dementia. 

Quick Facts

  • More than 432,000 Canadians over the age of 65 are living with dementia. On average, nine seniors are diagnosed with dementia every hour in Canada. Two thirds of Canadians over the age of 65 who live with diagnosed dementia are women.
  • Seniors face a high risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes due to declines in immunity and higher prevalence of underlying chronic diseases and conditions. Recent mortality data from Statistics Canada indicates that Dementia or Alzheimer's were listed on the death certificate of 42% of the women and 33% of the men in COVID-involved deaths.
  • As part of the Government of Canada's commitment to improving the lives of people living with dementia, and their families and caregivers, in June 2019, the Government released A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire. Canada's first national dementia strategy sets out three national objectives: prevent dementia, advance therapies and find a cure, and improve the quality of life of people living with dementia and caregivers.
  • The Dementia Community Investment supports community-based projects that address the challenges of dementia. Each project funded by the DCI involves people with lived experience in helping to design, deliver and evaluate the initiative.
  • The Enhanced Dementia Surveillance Program aims to explore innovative ways to close data gaps on dementia progression and impacts, socio-demographic and risk factors, and caregivers. These projects will enrich the data available to inform dementia policies, programs, and health care planning to better meet the needs of people living with dementia and caregivers.
  • All of these projects were in development prior to the current pandemic.
  • These two projects are receiving funding under the Dementia Community Investment:
    • The Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging will receive $1,054,825 over four years for the Dementia Community Investment Knowledge Hub; and
    • The University of Waterloo will receive funding for its Moving, Eating and Living Well with Dementia project.
  • These projects will receive funding under PHAC's Enhanced Dementia Surveillance Program:
    • The Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging will receive $987,866 over four years to develop an enhanced dementia surveillance system;
    • The University of Ottawa will receive $992,533 over four years to build on the existing Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN);
    • Laurentian University will receive $142,490 over one year; and
    • McMaster University will receive $999,526 over four years for work toward the early identification of people living with dementia and those at risk of developing dementia.

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