Theme 3: Quality of Life

Focuses on improving the management of dementia and the quality of life of those with lived experience

  • Team 14: How Multi-Morbidity Modifies the Risk of Dementia and the Patterns of Disease Expression is led by Melissa Andrew, who researches the impact multi-morbidities have on dementia. In particular, she looks at the impact frailty and vulnerability have on speeding up dementia’s onset and progression, and how dementia can be better managed and treated.

 

  • Team 15: Gerontechnology & Dementia is led by Alex Mihailidis, who focuses on incorporating technology into the lived experiences of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Learning needs and characteristics of people living with dementia enables the creation of technological supports to help improve the quality of day-to-day experiences.

 

  • Team 16: Driving & Dementia is co-led by Drs. Gary Naglie and Mark Rapoport, and Elaine Stasiulis is the program’s research associate. Working with a cross-Canada research team, they are developing a Driving Cessation and Dementia Toolkit for use in community settings by individuals, their families, and loved ones. Currently, the team is evaluating the toolkit with Alzheimer Society partners, with the larger goal of integrating elements into existing programming and services in 2017. The team is also developing a tailored, group-based intervention that will provide decision-making support to drivers with dementia and care partners, as well as support for coping and adaptation once the individual stops driving. Team collaborations include working with CCNA’s Team 15 to objectively measure the real-world impact of driving cessation interventions through developing a GPS-based algorithm that will identify patterns in mobility. The team is including rural and care partner perspectives on driving cessation within the intervention’s design by working with CCNA Teams 18 and 20. Collaborating with the Women, Gender, Sex and Dementia cross-cutting platform, the team is integrating knowledge about sex and gender into driving cessation. To learn more about the team’s recent findings, click here.

 

  • Team 17: Interventions at the Sensory and Cognitive Interface. Co-led by Drs. Natalie Phillips and Walter Wittich, the team’s research focuses on the simultaneous presence of two (or more) sensory conditions that older adults with dementia frequently have. In particular, the team studies the interaction between sensory loss and cognitive function – i.e. the challenges this presents for cognitive assessment and early detection, as well as the implications for quality of life (including communication and interaction with others). Their research approaches include analyzing large databases (e.g., the CCNA’s signature study COMPASS-ND, the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, and the Canadian Institute for Health Information), as well as experimental studies, experimental interventions, and qualitative interviews.

 

  • Team 18: Effectiveness of Caregiver Intervention. Co-led by Drs. Joel Sadavoy and Mary Chiu, this team aims to better understand how social factors bear on the thoughts and behaviors of family members who juggle employment and caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Specifically, this team’s research focuses on the effectiveness and scalability of psychotherapeutic and skills training interventions to meet the unique needs of this group – from nurturing the stability of the family unit to the productivity of the labor market. For this, the team is carrying out: (1) A national survey and in-depth interviews to identify the unique characteristics and challenges faced by working dementia caregivers; (2) A clinical effectiveness and impact study of the Reitman Centre Working CARERS Program (which is a small group psychotherapy and skills training intervention developed to address the needs of working dementia caregivers); and (3) A study of the adaptability and feasibility of the implementation and scaling of the Reitman Centre Working CARERS Program in rural settings throughout Canada.

 

  • Team 19: Integrating Dementia Patient Care into the Health Care System is led by Drs. Howard Bergman and Isabelle Vedel. Howard Bergman was the author of the Quebec Alzheimer Plan, From Prevention to End of Life Care, tabled in 2009. He and Isabelle Vedel are now working with the Quebec Ministry of Health in implementing this plan. Isabelle Vedel focuses on the implementation, evaluation, and organization of health care services for older people. To learn more about this work, please visit the Team 19 webpage.

 

  • Team 20: Issues in dementia care for rural and Indigenous populations is led by Drs. Debra MorganKristen Jacklin, and Carrie Bourassa. Debra Morgan leads the Rural Dementia Action Research team (RaDAR), and is the Director of the Rural and Remote Memory Clinic based at the University of Saskatchewan. Using a community-based research approach, Dr. Morgan works directly with stakeholders to translate best practices for dementia care – particularly quality of life of individuals and their families – to rural settings. Their recent baseline study report can be accessed here. Kristen Jacklin’s team is responding to dementia research priorities identified by Indigenous communities in Ontario through participatory and action-oriented research approaches. Specifically, Dr. Jacklin is developing evidence-based dementia care tools. Carrie Bourassa’s focus is on Aboriginal end of life care. To learn more about their CCNA activities and related projects on issues of aging and dementia in Indigenous populations, click here.