Caregiving, Advocacy, and Community Leadership

Caregiver holding hand of elderly person

CABHI’s Community of Innovation podcast is proud to introduce a series of episodes featuring conversations from the CABHI Summit 2022. This episode is the series’ first installment.

In this candid and moving session, our panel of family caregivers – all of whom have personal experience caring for a loved one living with dementia – give us a glimpse into their world. They share how their caregiving experiences have naturally empowered them to become leaders in their communities in unique ways. More than sharing just their stories, they move us to action by depicting the supports and policies for caregivers they want to see implemented in their vision of the future.

Featuring Ron Beleno and Cindy McCaffery, moderated by Dr. Adriana Shnall.

Listen to the episode here:

More on our speakers


Ron Beleno is an active advocate for dementia, caregiving, aging, and research communities. As a caregiver to his father who lived with Alzheimer’s for 10+ years to age in place at home until January 2018, Ron utilized technology, community, creative strategies and access to research to support his family’s life to live well and as best as possible. In recent years, Ron has been invited to do presentations locally and internationally for Alzheimer’s Societies, communities, police, educators, innovators and corporations. He shares his knowledge on caregiving as we age, ways to use technology for caring, and living safely with dementia, especially for those at risk of wandering and going missing. He is an active member, advisor, and mentor to numerous organizations and educational institutions such as AGE-WELL NCE, Healthcare Excellence Canada, Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) at Baycrest, City of Toronto’s Seniors Strategy, SE Health, and the Translational Research Program (TRP) at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine.

Cindy McCaffery is co-founder and volunteer vice-chair of YouQuest, Calgary’s first wellness community for individuals with young-onset dementia. Her involvement with young-onset dementia began when her father-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 52, and continues with her husband who was diagnosed in 2007 with frontotemporal dementia at age 48.

Dr. Adriana Shnall, PhD, MSW, RSW, is the Program Director of the Koschitzky Centre for Innovations in Caregiving at Baycrest. Prior to that, she was the Program Director of Baycrest@Home, Clinical Programs. As part of her portfolio, she led the Seniors Counselling and Referral and Senior Support Programs. She was also the Manager and Professional Practice Chief for Social Work at Baycrest. Adriana has over 30 years of clinical experience working with older adults and their families including outpatient community services, long-term care, and inpatient services. She was the recipient of the Baycrest Outstanding Innovations award. Adriana has an academic appointment with the faculty at the rank of Assistant Professor and teaches at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and at the Institute for the Life Course and Aging, University of Toronto. Adriana is the Chair of the Caregiving Committee for the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) and is a member of the Ontario Caregiver Coalition, the Toronto Caregiver Coalition and the Ontario Health Teams Caregiving Working group. Adriana integrates clinical practice, education, research and leadership experience to support healthcare providers and caregivers enrich their own quality of life and those they care for.

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