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Project helping dementia patients, caregivers to focus on southeast Saskatchewan

Click to play video 'Project aims to improve inclusion for people with dementia, caregivers in rural Sask.' Project aims to improve inclusion for people with dementia, caregivers in rural Sask.
WATCH: The University of Regina is funding a social inclusion project in the Yorkton Area. Daniella Ponticelli has more on the five-year plan, which looks for ways to better support people living with dementia and their caregivers.

Yorkton, Sask., and the surrounding area are the focus of a new five-year project aimed at enhancing the social inclusion of older adults living with dementia, and their caregivers.

The Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU), a research centre based out of the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina, is conducting the project.

What the project allows us to do is fund projects or interventions in these communities to reduce the social isolation of people with dementia and their care partners,” said Tom McIntosh, SPHERU associate director.

READ MORE: U of R research team granted $3M to help dementia patients in rural Saskatchewan

The project was awarded a $3-million grant from the federal government’s Employment and Social Development Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

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McIntosh said the project team is looking for local organizations to partner with and fund the initiatives.

“We very deliberately wanted small towns and rural communities because those are the most under-served populations in the province in terms of these kinds of services,” he said.

“If you’re running a business, are you or your staff trained to deal with someone in your establishment that has dementia and suddenly feels uncomfortable?”

Three to four local organizations will be selected to receive financial and planning support through the project, for initiatives that can be delivered on a community, institutional or individual level.

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“Things like Alzheimer and dementia-friendly communities, which is really about public education, reducing stigma, that is one level of operation,” he said.

“Then another level would be organizational interventions. So, if you’re running a business, are you or your staff trained to deal with someone in your establishment that has dementia and suddenly feels uncomfortable?”

Selected interventions will then be evaluated throughout the five-year mandate.