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Dementia Education Newsletter

McGill Cares Webcasts

To help support family caregivers during the COVID-19 crisis, we have launched a weekly webcast series, McGill Cares. During these candid, 30-minute interviews with leading experts, Claire Webster will explore topics related to caring for a loved one with dementia.


Upcoming Webcasts


Join us on January 27, 2021 at noon for the next webcast in our biweekly series, McGill Cares. 

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders

Julie Scorah, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University and Associate Director of the Azrieli Centre for Autism Research (ACAR). Dr. Scorah is a Neurophychologist whose areas of expertise include the assessment and diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Dr. Scorah will speak about the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, how they are diagnosed and available treatments. She will also address how family and friends can best support someone living on the autism spectrum, what the general population should know about autism, and what support services are available for adults on the spectrum and for parents of autistic children.

This free webcast is open to all. We would like to thank the Lindsay Memorial Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

Click here beginning at 12:00 pm EST on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 to join us live, or watch the recording afterwards.


Past Webcasts


Recognizing when Coping Mechanisms become Addictions

Dr. David Luckow is a family physician at the Montreal West Island CIUSSS in their youth mental health clinic, and a clinical lecturer at the McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. He is the head physician at the Centre de réadaptation en dépendance de Montréal, a public drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. As a certified Medical Review Officer, he provides drug-test reviewing services and independent medical evaluations.

Dr. Luckow will address issues related to the use of alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. He will discuss how to recognize when this is becoming a problem, and will share information about treatment options.

We would like to thank the Lindsay Memorial Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

January 20, 2021


Understanding and Caring for a Person with Depression

Dr. Gustavo Turecki is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, Scientific Director at the Douglas Institute Research Centre and Psychiatrist‐in‐Chief at the Montreal West Island CIUSSS. Dr. Turecki uses epidemiological, clinical, psychosocial and basic research approaches to advance knowledge on mechanisms leading to suicide and suicidal behaviour. His laboratory has contributed to the investigation of the mechanisms of anti-depressant response. In addition to his research, Dr. Turecki is involved in local, national and international leadership in research, intervention and knowledge transfer in the field of suicide and depression.

Dr. Turecki will speak about the signs and symptoms of depression, how it is diagnosed and available treatments. He will address the relationship between depression and dementia, and will discuss how family and friends can best support someone suffering from depression.

We would like to thank the Lindsay Memorial Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

 January 13, 2021


Living with and Supporting a Loved One with ALS

Dr. Angela Genge is Director of the Clinical Research Unit at the Montreal Neurological Institute. She is a neuromuscular neurologist and leads the Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) clinical program and multidisciplinary clinic. Dr. Genge has received numerous awards, most recently the 2018 Forbes Norris Award, the DIVA of Distinction Award, and the Governor General Diamond Jubilee Award.

Ms. Leigh Stephens is a social worker and a psychosocial counsellor at the ALS Society of Quebec. She supports people living with ALS and their caregivers at every stage of the disease, from diagnosis through end of life and bereavement. Her work developing programs and services for caregivers led to her involvement in the consultation process for the development of the National Policy for Caregivers in Quebec.

Dr. Genge will speak about ALS, how it progresses and what treatments are available. Ms. Stephens will provide an understanding of the types of programs and services that exist for persons living with ALS and their caregivers.

We would like to thank the Lindsay Memorial Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

December 16, 2020


Caregiving and the Risk of Older Adult Mistreatment

Melanie Couture, PhD, is a researcher at the Center for Research and Expertise in Social Gerontology (CREGÉS) and scientific lead of the Health Interventions and Technology Assessment Unit of the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. She is also Affiliate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the Université de Sherbrooke. She co-leads three governmental mandates to develop training and other initiatives in Quebec on older adult mistreatment.

Dr. Couture will answer questions about elder abuse and will provide an overview on how often it happens, the factors that underlie it and the impact that COVID-19 is having on it. She will also discuss tools to identify and reduce mistreatment in caregiving situations.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

December 2, 2020


Dementia Care around the World

Paola Barbarino is CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International based in London, England and a Board Member of the World Dementia Council. Previously she was a Non-Executive Director of the Non-Communicable Disease Alliance (NCDA), a Trustee of Shelter (a housing charity), and a Trustee of Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) London.

Ms. Barbarino will speak about dementia planning on a global scale. She will discuss the type of education and support that persons living with dementia and their loved ones receive around the world, and share her thoughts on where we can find hope for the future.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

November 25, 2020


The Latest Research on Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Serge Gauthier is the Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Research Unit of the McGill University Research Centre for Studies in Aging. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Neurology & Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, and Medicine at the McGill Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. 

Dr. Gauthier will provide an update on the latest and most promising research on the detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

November 18, 2020


Resilience: Finding Courage in the Face of Hardship

Susan Wener is a TEDx alum, bestselling author, educator and therapist. At the age of 36, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She began treatment with one goal – to see her children finish high school. She successfully underwent chemotherapy and dedicated her career to helping Montreal’s cancer community.

She pursued studies in natural health, recognizing the importance of holistic treatment methods. On the cusp of graduating as a natural health consultant, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. The prognosis was grim and required life-altering surgery to remove her right lung. Susan shocked her doctors by recovering over 90% of her normal lung capacity.

Ms. Wener is the first and only natural health consultant invited to sit on the Jewish General Hospital’s Gynecological Oncology Tumour Board. She is also a Trustee of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation Board.

Ms. Wener will share her amazing story and offer her insights on facing difficult times with hope and resilience.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

November 11, 2020


Healthy Aging to Stay Strong and Prevent Dementia

Dr. José Morais is Professor and Director of Geriatric Medicine at the McGill Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, the McGill University Health Centre and the Jewish General Hospital. In addition to being Academic Lead of the McGill Dementia Education Program, he is Co-Director of the Quebec Network for Research on Aging and past President of the Canadian Geriatrics Society. He conducts research on the organization of services for older adults, and on nutrition and metabolism as they pertain to healthy and fragile aging.

Dr. Morais will discuss how to increase the odds of aging well to maintain physical and cognitive health.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

November 4, 2020


Navigating the Journey of Parkinson’s Disease

Dr. Ronald Postuma, Professor of Neurology at McGill University, is a clinical researcher and movement disorders neurologist who treats patients with Parkinson's disease and related disorders at The Neuro. His research interest focuses upon Parkinson's disease, particularly on detecting early stages of disease, examining the impact of non-motor symptoms on disease subtype and prognosis, and testing new treatments for non-motor manifestations such as sleep disorders. Dr. Postuma co-developed Parkinson’s Disease – An Introductory Guide, with the McGill University Health Centre Patient Education Office.

Dr. Postuma will talk about the symptoms and evolution of Parkinson’s disease and the importance of education. He will provide insight on how to navigate the disease as a patient, and discuss what caregivers need to know in order to provide proper care and support.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

October 28, 2020


The Relationship between Concussions and Neurocognitive Disorders

Man in gray jacket and white shirt standing in front of the NeuroDr. Alain Ptito is Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University and Director of the Psychology Department at the McGill University Health Centre. His research involves the investigation of the mechanisms involved in cerebral reorganization and plasticity in various patient populations. In recent years, Dr. Ptito has explored new methods of using functional MRI (fMRI) for examining brain trauma.

Dr. Ptito will address how brain injuries change the brain, the relationship between concussions and dementia, and potential treatments to restore brain health after a concussion.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

October 21, 2020


Accessing Resources from the Quebec Health and Social Services Network

Zelda Freitas is a graduate of the McGill University School of Social Work, with 30 years of experience in the delivery of services to older adults, their caregivers and their families. She is currently the Coordinator of Developing Practices in Support of Caregivers at the Center for Research and Expertise in Social Gerontology of the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal.

Ms. Freitas will explain how to access services for seniors and their caregivers within the Quebec health care system, providing answers to many frequently asked questions.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

October 14, 2020


Former Caregivers become Advocates for Alzheimer’s Research

Mrs. Dorothy Reitman is a respected lifelong activist and community volunteer who was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1997. She cared for her late husband who died of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2014. Mrs. Reitman currently serves as a board member for several organizations, including the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors Foundation, and serves as Co-chair, Alzheimer’s Research for a Cure at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital Foundation.

Mr. André Charron is a vice-president and portfolio manager at an investment management firm who lost his father to Alzheimer's Disease in 2011. He and his family have given generously to the Jewish General Hospital Foundation in honour of his father. Mr. Charron sits on the Board of Directors at the Jewish General Hospital Foundation and is Vice-Chair to its $250 million capital campaign.

Mrs. Reitman and Mr. Charron are both Ambassadors of the McGill Dementia Education Program. They will share their stories of how dementia affected their lives and led them to become philanthropists and advocates for research into Alzheimer’s Disease.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

October 7, 2020


The Correlation between Cardiovascular Disease, Stress and Dementia

Dr. Nadia Giannetti is Associate Professor in Experimental Medicine at McGill University, and Chief of Cardiology and Medical Director of the Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Centre at the McGill University Health Centre. Dr. Giannetti’s specialties include advanced heart failure, heart transplant, and mechanical hearts.

Dr. Giannetti will discuss the correlation between heart disease, stress and dementia, and provide advice on how to keep the cardiovascular system healthy. Claire Webster will share her personal story of cardiac issues in order to help create awareness about the impact of stress on heart health.

We would like to thank the Zeller Family Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.

September 30, 2020 


Planning for the Future and Protecting a Loved One’s Finances

Mtre. Rhonda Rudick is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg. Her practice includes a strong emphasis on estate planning. Mtre. Janet Michelin is a partner at IMK who regularly represents and advises mandataries, estate liquidators and trustees on their legal obligations. She is currently co-lecturer at McGill University, where she teaches Trial Advocacy. Both graduated from the McGill Faculty of Law in 1996.

Mtres. Rudick and Michelin will describe what needs to be done to ensure the safe management of your loved one’s financial health after a diagnosis of dementia, explain what happens if diagnosis happens after a loss of mental capacity, and share what can be done to protect against financial exploitation and fraud.

We would like to thank The Henry and Berenice Kaufmann Foundation for sponsoring this episode of McGill Cares.  

September 23, 2020


Cancer Survivor Provides Support to Others

Gwen Nacos founded Cedars CanSupport after recovering from cancer in 1988. While undergoing treatment, she noticed that many people receiving cancer therapy did not have personal or family connections to provide the practical and emotional support that she found so essential to her own recovery.

Ms. Nacos will share the story behind why she founded Cedars CanSupport, a program at the McGill University Health Centre that works in collaboration with the health care team to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their families. This dedicated team of professional staff and volunteers provides free emotional support, educational services, complementary therapies and practical resources.

September 16, 2020


Encouraging Leisure Activities for Persons Living with Dementia

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it became necessary for the McGill School of Physical and Occupational Therapy to offer alternative clinical learning experiences for their students. This challenge became an unexpected opportunity to help meet the needs of community partners as the students turned to the online world with the goal of creating projects that would be relevant and useful for their clients.

For their final project in the new Health Innovator Student Incubator Engines clinical course, graduate occupational therapy students Nicole Drinkwater, Emma Vadot, Madde Macdougall and Chrissy MacDonald developed an activity booklet for caregivers and their loved ones who are living with dementia. They worked together to create a detailed guide that would encourage individuals to engage in the activities that they enjoy, aligned with their interests and abilities, in order to contribute to their sense of self, promote creativity and add to their quality of life.

The end result is a very engaging virtual toolkit that offers over 40 recreational activities, in six different categories, with instructions on how to adapt the activities to the needs of the individual.  

CLICK HERE for more information and to download the booklet.

September 9, 2020


Improving the Quality of Life and Care of Persons Living with Dementia and their Caregivers

Dr. Howard Bergman is Professor of Family Medicine, Medicine (Geriatrics), and Oncology, as well as Assistant Dean, International Affairs in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. Among numerous other accomplishments, Dr. Bergman co-founded and co-directed the Jewish General Hospital/McGill University Memory Clinic.

Dr. Bergman will discuss his work with respect to seniors and dementia, in light of the 2019 report by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Expert Panel for the Assessment of Evidence and Best Practices for the development of a Canadian Dementia Strategy, which he chaired.

September 2, 2020


Transitioning a Loved One to a Residence

Matt Del Vecchio is a Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA designation) and the host of “Life Unrehearsed” on CJAD800. He founded Lianas Senior Transition Support to help seniors and their families through decisions about where and how they wish to live out their golden years. Dr. José Morais is Professor and the Director of Geriatric Medicine at the McGill Faculty of Medicine, the McGill University Health Centre and Jewish General Hospital, in addition to being the Academic Lead of the McGill Dementia Education Program.

Mr. Del Vecchio and Dr. Morais will answer questions about moving a loved one into a residence, including how to know when it is time move, the best option for your loved one, the steps to take to get a place in a residence, and how to ensure that your loved one will be comfortable and safe in their new home.

August 26, 2020


The Realities of Caregiving within the LGBTQ+ Communities

This week’s webcast features a panel discussion to recognize LGBTQ+ caregivers. Shari Brotman, PhD, is Associate Professor at the McGill School of Social Work. Her scholarly activities focus on access and equity in the design and delivery of health and social care services to older people from marginalized communities, and their informal caregivers. Julien Rougerie is the Program Manager for the Aging Gayfully and Chosen Family programs at Fondation Émergence. Chloé Viau is a trans woman who volunteers at Aging Gayfully. Since her transition at age 70, she struggles to be recognized as a caregiver to her mother.

The panel will discuss the particular challenges that seniors and caregivers from the LGBTQ+ communities face in accessing services and seeking out support for themselves, as well as the necessary considerations that need to be made in order to ensure that these services are made available to them.

August 19, 2020


Strategies for Coping with Challenging Behaviour

Dr. Wendy Chiu is an Assistant Professor of Geriatric Medicine at McGill University and a geriatrician at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH), McGill University Health Centre. Her work primarily involves multidisciplinary assessment and rehabilitation of the "frail elderly" at the MGH Geriatric Day Hospital.

Dr. Chiu will discuss strategies for coping with challenging behaviours in persons with dementia. She will also talk about how to deal with the overwhelming emotional and physical toll of caregiving based on her personal journey with her family.

August 12, 2020


Supporting Healthy Communities through Innovative Educational Technology

Dr. Gerald Fried is the Director of the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning, and Associate Dean, Education Technology & Innovation in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. Professor of Surgery and previous Surgeon-in-Chief of the McGill University Health Centre, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross in 2019 by the Governor General of Canada in recognition for his leadership in the development of Minimally Invasive Surgery in Canada.

Dr. Fried will discuss innovative and interactive technologies being used at the Steinberg Centre–one of the most comprehensive medical skills simulation and learning facilities in Canada–to support the education of students, healthcare professionals, and the community at large.

This free webcast is sponsored by Home Care Assistance.

August 5, 2020


Much Too Young – The Impact of Early Onset Dementia

Chris Wynn is an award-winning filmmaker and Alzheimer’s advocate. Mr. Wynn documented his father’s struggles with Alzheimer’s Disease to produce an award-winning feature documentary for TVO called Forgetful Not Forgotten. He has since produced Much Too Young, a documentary about younger caregivers that was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award in 2017, and the web series A New Voice, Living Well with Dementia about a woman living with dementia in her late forties. His current work explores animated and augmented virtual reality for storytelling.

Mr. Wynn will talk about his decision to return to Québec to care for his father and the impact it has had on his life. He will discuss early onset dementia and how it affects young caregivers, and share what he has learned from other caregivers that he has met through his filmmaking and advocacy work for the Canadian Alzheimer’s Society.

This free webcast is sponsored by Home Care Assistance.

July 29, 2020


An Intimate Conversation with Marguerite Blais, Minister Responsible for Seniors and Informal Caregivers

Ms. Marguerite Blais has held the position of Minister Responsible for Seniors and Informal Caregivers in the National Assembly of Quebec and Member for Prévost in the Coalition Avenir Québec since October 2018. After completing her graduate studies in music and teaching for a few years, Ms. Blais pursued advanced studies in communications and spent 30 years working as a successful radio and television host and journalist. She was involved in several charitable organizations, and entered politics in 2007 as a Liberal Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the electoral division of Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne in Montreal, a position she held until 2015.

As a former caregiver, Ms. Blais will share her personal experience about the challenges that caregivers face and talk about what led her to become such a passionate advocate. She will also discuss what steps we need to take to ensure that seniors are being properly cared for.

July 27, 2020


Nurses Advocating as End-of-Life Caregivers

Louise Murray is the Director of Clinical Partnerships Office at the Ingram School of Nursing (ISON), McGill University and has held a variety of advanced practice nursing roles at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Catherine-Anne Miller is a full-time Faculty Lecturer at the ISON. In her former role as a clinical nurse specialist in the Neuro-Oncology Program at the MUHC, she was involved in end-of-life care, and supported patients and their families as they faced life-limiting diagnoses.

Ms. Murray and Ms. Miller will discuss how their professional backgrounds have helped them navigate their own personal experiences of caring for loved ones living with dementia, coping with their own grief and loss during the pandemic crisis. They will also share important considerations for end-of-life decision making.

This webcast is sponsored by Home Care Assistance.

July 22, 2020


Navigating Stress and Loss when Caring for a Loved one with Dementia

Tamara Sussman, PhD, is Associate Professor at the McGill School of Social Work. For over ten years, she has worked with adults and families to manage health-related issues in both hospital and community settings. Dr. Sussman’s research focuses on how health services and systems impact older adults and their family members. Dr. Sussman will respond to questions about how informal caregivers can take care of themselves in order to take better care of their loved one. She will talk about feelings that come up when caring for a loved one, such as sadness, worry and stress, and she will discuss how to recognize when these feelings become more problematic and can lead to depression, anxiety and burnout. And lastly, she will offer guidance on where to turn for help when coping with these feelings.

This webcast is sponsored by Home Care Assistance.

July 15, 2020


Supporting Daily Activities in Dementia Care

Isabelle Gélinas, PhD, is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director at the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University. She is also a researcher at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation in Montreal. Her research interests include the measurement of functional abilities in persons with cognitive deficits such as dementia. She developed the Disability Assessment for Dementia (DAD), a measure of functional abilities in activities of daily living, which is used clinically and in clinical trials internationally. Dr. Gélinas will answer questions about how we can best help our loved ones with reduced autonomy actively participate in a meaningful way in domestic tasks and personal care for as long as possible.

This webcast is sponsored by Home Care Assistance.  

July 8, 2020


Responding to Challenging Behaviour

Dr. Donald Doell practices geriatrics at the McGill University Health Centre and is an Assistant Professor in the McGill Faculty of Medicine. He is particularly interested in dementia care and has worked with many of the leading experts in neurology, psychiatry and geriatrics in Canada. He will provide insight into some of the challenging behaviours caused by dementia and look at the ways they can be addressed.

 June 17, 2020


How the Pandemic is Changing the Way We Teach Students and Provide Care

Dr. David Eidelman is Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. A respirologist and clinician scientist, Dr. Eidelman previously served as Chair of McGill’s Department of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief of the McGill University Health Centre. During this webinar, Dr. Eidelman will answer questions about how the pandemic has impacted medicine and all the health professions and sciences represented in the Faculty, and its influence on the way our teachers will teach and our students will learn in the future.

June 10, 2020


Coping with Grief

Corrie Sirota is a clinical social worker and sessional lecturer at the McGill School of Social Work who specializes in loss, bereavement and stress management. She is the author of Someone Died... Now What? A Personal and Professional Perspective on Coping with Loss and Grief. A co-host of the weekly radio show “Life Unrehearsed” on CJAD, she is also a well-known speaker and facilitator of psychosocial prevention and interventions for schools, camp staff, community agencies and organizations. She will speak about how COVID-19 is affecting the way we grieve and how gratitude can help the grieving process. She will also suggest ways to honour the memory of a person who died and provide insight on how to support a grieving family member or friend.

June 3, 2020


Support and Safety during the COVID-19 Crisis

Dr. José Morais is Professor and the Director of Geriatric Medicine at the McGill Faculty of Medicine, the McGill University Health Centre and Jewish General Hospital. In addition to being Academic Lead of the McGill Dementia Education Program, he is Co-Director of the Quebec Network for Research on Aging and past President of the Canadian Geriatrics Society. He conducts research on the organization of services for older adults, and on nutrition and metabolism as they pertain to healthy and fragile aging. Dr. Morais will speak about how seniors are being affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and how they can stay safe and healthy during this difficult period.

May 27, 2020


Understanding Dementia

Dr. Serge Gauthier is the Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Research Unit of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging and a Professor in the Departments of Neurology & Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, and Medicine at McGill University. He will answer questions about dementia: what it is, how it differs from normal aging and how it progresses. He will focus on what caregivers need to know about dementia and its associated behavioural and psychological symptoms to help them keep their loved one safe and to minimize distress during the pandemic.

May 20, 2020


A Caregiver’s Journey: Learning from Love and Loss

Isabelle Poirier was caring for her three children while also looking after her mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s eight years ago. Isabelle will talk about the challenges she faced as a “sandwich generation” caregiver while trying to balance her responsibilities. She will also touch upon the difficulties that she encountered while navigating the health care system and finding long-term placement for her mother, who was one of the unfortunate victims of COVID-19.

May 13, 2020 


For more information about the McGill Dementia Education Program or to make a donation, please visit www.mcgill.ca/dementia. If you have specific topics or questions that you would like us to address during our weekly webcasts, please email us at dementia [at] mcgill.ca (subject: McGill%20Cares%20Webcast%20Series%20) .

Read Claire Webster's blog, A Caregiver's Crusade.

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