What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term that includes a number of different types of diseases that affect the brain, each with it own set of symptoms. Memory impairment is the hallmark feature of dementia, affecting social and occupational functioning, but it is not always the first sign of dementia. Sometimes difficulty with judgement, reasoning and insight may occur before signs of memory loss are noticed.
Dementia includes Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Frontotemporal Disease (FTD), Mixed Dementias, and other forms of Dementia.

The Geriatric Certificate Program

Did you know DementiAbility Methods and Communication Tips and Tools for Dementia are two of the required courses to get your Geriatric Certificate from McMaster University? The Geriatric Certificate Program is a continuing education program through McMaster University that offers specialized courses in geriatric care. The required courses are based on scientific evidence, come with many testimonials from others in the field and consistently link knowledge to practice. The planning and development of the GCP has been reviewed and endorsed by the McMaster Continuing Health Sciences Education Office; each graduate earns a GCP certificate of completion.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Geriatric Certificate Website here!

Success Stories

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Richmond Lions Manor DementiAbility Journey 2020

Students help seniors turn dementia into ‘DementiAbility’
Imagine a world where those living with dementia can enjoy a life filled with meaning, purpose, joy, independence, choice and high self-esteem. That’s what NC students are striving to create as they learn to apply Montessori methods to help seniors with dementia. About 60 first-year Recreation Therapy students recently completed training in DementiAbility Methods: the Montessori Way (DMMW), as part of their Therapeutic Approaches for an Aging Population (TAAP) course this winter term… READ MORE

Niagara College Students

Suzy Duncan Certification

Because We Care

DementiAbility is pleased to bring you “Because We Care” stories from those who are putting the DementiAbility Methods into action! The goal is to share a story, provided by a health care worker or family member, who has inspired us. Stories may be about supporting individuals with dementia during COVID-19, about their experience implementing DementiAbility Methods with a team, or any other anecdotes that provides some insight into the life of our paid and unpaid health care heroes. We hope these segments will shed some light on magical and memorable moments, overcoming difficult times, and everything in between. We want to showcase how care partners (professionals and families) are caring for the most vulnerable sector of our society. We hope you enjoy these inspirational stories as much as we do.Do you have a story you would like to share? Email us at laura@dementiability.com

It is time for another “Because We Care” segment! ⁠
Over the past few months we have had multiple staff come through the DementiAbility Certification process. Karleigh Wright, Sara Galusha & Stevie-Lee Kaemingh worked together to implement the DementiAbility Methods with those in their care over the past few months. This is what they had to say about their certification process:⁠

“I’m grateful to have had this experience. The client we selected for certification was quite an interesting person to get to know, and I enjoyed the time we were able to share together as a result of being involved with the DementiAbility certification. I feel it gave me a good opportunity to sit down, get to know him as a person, as well as who he was prior to his admission to long term care. Because of this experience, we were able to trial new interventions with him, and find some that were particularly successful. Objectively, the resident is doing much better now – demonstrating fewer responsive behaviours; more engaged at meal time; seemingly happier day to day. ⁠

While this type of thing is the specific role of the psychogeriatric resource program, and is not necessarily foreign to us, it was interesting and a fun experience to have a different “routine” to follow in determining and implementing these interventions. It also gave us a better opportunity to focus in on this client specifically, and we feel we’ve been able to assist him in achieving a better quality of life as a result.⁠

We are grateful for the experience!”⁠

Karleigh Wright, Sara Galusha & Stevie-Lee Kaemingh⁠
Canadian Mental Health Association ⁠
Fort Frances Branch⁠
Fort Frances, ON⁠

Well done and congratulations for all you have accomplished and becoming DementiAbility Certified!

FTD Resources:

To learn more about FTD, visit When Dementia is in the House, a website designed to help families who have a loved one with FTD and/or download the PFD book:Frank and Tess Detectives! which is a children’s activity book about Frontotemporal Degeneration.

Visit the Alzheimer’s Society websites to learn more about the different types of dementia and there community resources available in your area. There are local chapters around the world. Canada: http://alzheimer.ca/en/Home

Visit the Alzheimer’s Society website to learn more about the terms and definitions.

In the news – Alzheimer
The Alzheimer Society funds research to find a cure and support quality of life for people living with dementia. Alzheimer Society Research Program

Alzheimer’s Disease International
Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) is the worldwide federation of Alzheimer associations, which support people with dementia and their families.

Workshop Testimonials

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“I’ve been working in the field of Gerontology and dementia for over 16 years. I have attended countless conferences and workshops. I attended your Montessori training on Monday and Tuesday of this week and while I thought it was helpful I had no idea just how helpful or how much I had retained until being back at work for the past few days. The content of your presentation but mostly importantly, your teaching methods are amazing. I am absolutely amazed at the amount of information I have retained just by you repeating and repeating the key messages! I am so excited to begin having the staff on my team (myself included) begin looking at behaviors related to dementia in a new and innovative way. You are changing the face of dementia care and since I can’t stop thinking about you or the workshop I wanted to take the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. Thank you so much for all that you do!!!”


“Life changing – thousands of ideas & hope for the future!”

(Kingston, ON)

“This philosophy of care gives residents a reason to get up in the morning.”

(Scarborough, ON)

“This seminar made me think about Dementia in a different way – how even someone who is severely affected by Dementia can have quality in their life”

(Whitby, ON)

“I feel as though I have so much to bring back to Yellowknife, there is so much that can be done at our facility.”


“Amazing, there are no words to describe.”

(Toronto, ON)

“This workshop should be mandatory for everyone working in Dementia Care”

(Lindsay, ON)

“This workshop makes me feel quite emotional to realize where our dementia residence is lacking in providing residents with purpose. I feel motivated to start making changes.”


“On the Wednesday morning ater the workshop when I was working with my exercise group at work we were all close enough to be able to hold hands so at the end of group as asked if everyone would please join hands and I thanked all of them for being a part of my exercise group today and asked would you like to join me again on Friday and they all said they would come back. Here is the chilling/goose bump part…. one of the residents says “WOW is it ever nice to hold each others hands!” so THANK YOU again Gail!!”


In the media