National Dementia Research Program gets $55.5M funding

On September 10th, the Federal Government announced $31.5M in funding for dementia research. Partners in Ontario and Quebec are contributing an additional $24M. This is an important step in building a focus nationally for dementia care. As Health Minister Rona Ambrose stated in the press release,”We’ve got to get ahead of it, we’ve got to look at prevention and we’ve got to focus on ways to support caregivers who are taking care of people with dementia.”

For those of us working in the field of dementia care, this is important and exciting news. It is encouraging to hear the Minister express concern for caregivers. As we all know, while efforts are underway to search for a cause, the numbers of people with dementia are growing across the country. These persons and their caregivers need help now.

The following link provides more details:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/national-dementia-research-intitiative-gets-31-5m-federal-funding-1.2762253

First ever Dementia Hack-a-thon takes place in Toronto

The past 3 days have seen a Dementia Hack-a-ton take place at Ryerson University in Toronto. I was extremely fortunate to be invited to attend as a mentor. This Initiative was hosted by Hackerfest and sponsored by the British Consulate- General in Toronto. Bringing together persons with dementia, various clinical experts and programmers/hackers, this event was an amazing opportunity to see young people engaged in learning about dementia and tackling some of the challenges they heard about through the use of technology. Programming teams were asked to come up with innovative ways to help with self-management for persons with dementia.

The following link from the UK government describes the event:

https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/toronto-hackathon-to-target-dementia-challenges-with-innovative-ideas

There was a great deal of excitement among the clinicians and mentors attending this event and one of the important messages that was emphasized throughout the 3 days was…program for the person, not the disease! During the hacking phase of the event, it was our job to circulate among the programming teams. We were available to answer questions and offer suggestions as the teams came up with various ideas for applications to help persons with dementia and their caregivers cope with the daily challenges of living with dementia. The event culminated in demos by each team with a grand prize awarded to the winning team. As I write this, the teams are presenting their ideas.

Check out the following YouTube links to experience the event over 3 days, including the final presentations and judging:

https://www.youtube.com/user/hackernest