McGill launches a free new educational guide for people living with dementia and their care partners, thanks to a generous donation of $250,000 from the Grace Dart Foundation
A person who receives a life-changing diagnosis of dementia has many questions. What changes can I expect to my daily routine? How long can I remain independent? How will this affect my relationship with my loved ones?
A free new educational resource, Dementia, Your Companion Guide, was designed to help provide answers. With engaging illustrations and a friendly writing style, this approachable guide covers a wide array of topics to assist both the person living with dementia (PLWD) and their care partners. It includes information on the science and progression of dementia as well as practical advice on safety and self-care.
The guide was created by a multidisciplinary team at the McGill University Dementia Education Program (DEP) in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS). The content was provided by the Program’s founder and former care partner Ms. Claire Webster, geriatrician Dr. José A. Morais and neurologist Dr. Serge Gauthier, along with partners from the McGill University Research Centre for Studies in Aging, the Division of Geriatric Medicine, the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, and the School of Social Work.
The DEP worked closely with the Office of Education Technology and E-learning Collaboration for Health, based at the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning, to bring the project to life by applying principles of instructional design and leveraging educational technology.
Dr. Gauthier, recognized internationally for his groundbreaking research and expertise in the field dementia, provided oversight to ensure that the content of the guide accurately reflects the diagnostic process, the progression of the disease and the treatment options. “This guide will be of interest to many people as it addresses common complaints about memory and cognitive decline as we age. It includes lots of examples and friendly illustrations, and it’s not technical – it was written in a way that is easy to understand,” he explains.
Financing for the guide was graciously provided by the Grace Dart Foundation, a longstanding organization that supports the well-being of the elderly in the greater Montreal area. Their generous donation of $250,000 supported the creation, publication and translation of this booklet.
“We are proud to support McGill University’s FMHS and the DEP with this innovative new guide that is geared toward people living with dementia and their care partners,” says Ms. Elise Nesbitt, President & Chair of the Grace Dart Foundation’s Board of Directors. “This guide will provide desperately needed information to so many people.”
“When I first approached McGill to talk about how we could work together to educate and empower people living with dementia and their care partners, my dream was to create a ‘prescription of care’ so that the people who came after me would be better informed about this condition. Today, thanks to the generosity of the Grace Dart Foundation and the support of the McGill FMHS, that dream has come true,” expresses Mrs. Webster.
Dr. Morais is eager to share this information with his patients. “Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are very prevalent, affecting all aspects of family life, and the symptoms are constantly evolving. This essential resource provides PLWD and their care partners with the concrete information they need to understand this condition and keep them safe, and it’s available in an accessible format that they can refer to often as the disease progresses.”