News Release: Canadian Frailty Network invests in Canadian-made, innovative approach to dementia care
As our population ages frailty, in all its forms, challenges the Canadian care system to support 1.5 million older adults living with frailty and their family caregivers. Coordinated, compassionate, local care is critically important to those living with dementia and their caregivers. The Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) has invested in a proven and innovative approach to dementia care, MINT Memory Clinics.
“It’s not what we expected our retirement years would be like,” says Vivienne, who lives in the Kitchener-area with her husband Ben. Vivienne and Ben met at Expo ’67 in Montreal and have been caring for one another for over 50 years. Recently, the couple has faced a new care challenge, one that is increasingly familiar to many Canadians: a dementia diagnosis.
Vivienne and Ben at home in Kitchener, Ontario.
After meeting with their family physician, Vivienne and Ben were referred to their local MINT Memory Clinic, where they met with a team of care providers including a doctor, a nurse, a social worker and pharmacist, who provided an assessment and care plan, and connected them with the Alzheimer’s Society and other resources. With a circle of support, Vivienne and Ben no longer had to navigate the system on their own.
MINT Memory Clinics disrupt current dementia care models by integrating primary care providers with specialists and community services and, for the first time, provide access to high-quality dementia care within a local doctor’s office. The MINT Memory Clinic program trains primary care providers including doctors, nurses, social workers and others, and partner with specialists and community services to deliver complete, compassionate care – all in one location. This training is key to providing care to those living with dementia and frailty, as recent research has shown that frailty is often a predictor of cognitive diseases like dementia and can play a key role in dementia symptoms and diagnosis1.
Dr. Linda Lee with her team in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, created the MINT Memory Clinics.
This integrated model of care can support 90% of persons living with dementia as well as their families, reducing wait times by nearly 50%. Now, with funding from the Canadian Frailty Network, the MINT Memory Clinic model will continue to expand to ensure that older Canadians experiencing memory problems and frailty will have access to local, compassionate care and support.
“We fulfill our mandate of improving care for older adults living with frailty and supporting their caregivers by not only funding frailty research, but scalable innovations such as MINT Memory Clinics,” says Dr. John Muscedere, Scientific Director & CEO of CFN. “With more than 110 clinics and a very high adoption rate, this innovation is set to make a major impact in the field of dementia care. Most older adults have identified aging in place as a priority for them. Dementia care delivered in the community that reduces the number of emergency room visits, not only improves quality of life for older adults and reduces caregiver stress, but reduces rising hospitalization costs in this population and allows older adults to stay in their homes longer.”
For couples like Ben and Vivienne, this means they can worry less about navigating the healthcare system and focus more on their life together at home, knowing they have dementia care support just down the road.
1. Wallace, L., Theou, O., Godin, J., Andrew, M., Bennett, D., & Rockwood, K. (2019). Investigation of frailty as a moderator of the relationship between neuropathology and dementia in Alzheimer’s disease: a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The Lancet 18(2): 177-184. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(18)30371-5