Breaking new ground to reduce dementia related stigma


Dementia Inclusive Initiative focuses on promoting understanding, patience, and education

 Oakville, ON – The Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) is breaking new ground together, as a united sector, to reduce dementia related stigma.

“The development and implementation of ORCA’s Dementia Inclusive Initiative is very near to our hearts,” said ORCA CEO, Laurie Johnston.  “We know that more than 400,000 Canadians aged 65 and older have been diagnosed with dementia –those numbers and the care of the people affected are why we are spearheading this campaign to ensure better understanding, patience, and education around this disease.”

ORCA’s Dementia Inclusive Initiative builds on the global dementia friendly communities movement. Funded by a grant from Baycrest’s Center for Aging Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), this initiative is one of the first and only movements of its kind to focus specifically on reducing dementia related stigma and increasing inclusion in retirement communities.

Laura Booi, the Principle Investigator for this project has spent the fall and winter conducting site visits of retirement communities across Ontario. She has met with staff, residents, and family members in these settings to understand the current barriers and facilitators to dementia inclusivity. She has also been working alongside a group of engaged dementia care experts from the sector, incorporating their feedback and guidance to lay the foundation for this project’s success.

“The outcomes of this initiative have the capacity to serve as motivation and insipration for other progressive sectors that wish to come together and join the global dementia inclusive movement,” said Laura Booi.  “This campaign is progressive and has the potential to make a real, positive difference in the lives of those affected by dementia.”

This program will be piloted in the Spring of 2018 with materials and education flowing to all retirement homes in the Fall of 2018.

“Retirement homes have always been on the forefront of ensuring that all seniors are treated with respect and kindness – our work builds on this premise,” said Johnston.  “We know that other sectors are also making important progress in this area.  We continue to encourage other sectors – other groups – others with interest – to take steps to also reduce dementia related stigma.  We know together we can do so much for the people who need us most.”