Dementia-Inclusive Retirement Communities

Two older adults walk through the halls of a retirement home, smiling and enjoying each other's company.

Award Date: 2017

Project Lead(s): Laura Booi, Gerontologist

Project Title: Dementia Inclusive Retirement Communities

What is the issue? 

Older adults living in retirement communities remain independent, gain access to activities and social opportunities. The average age of residents is 85 years old, and many have or will develop dementia. Our objective was to find ways to eliminate dementia related stigma and find ways to include more residents living with dementia in activities and social events.  

What did we do? 

We produced a video called “I’m Olive,” in which a resident with dementia shares what it’s like to live in a dementiainclusive retirement community. We created two e-learning modules for staff and a guide and checklist for retirement community operators. We tested these resources in more than 32 retirement communities in Ontario and Alberta.  

What did we find?  

Residents and staff who took part in our pilot study found that the resources fostered discussion, and provided creative ideas and useful solutions for eliminating stigma about dementia. As a result, more people with dementia took part in the activities. Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from staff and residents, we are developing new education modules on the topics of personal expression and mealtimes.