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      From social network to safety net: Dementia-friendly communities in rural northern Ontario

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      Dementia

      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          Dementia-friendly communities, as communities that enable people with dementia to remain involved and active and have control over their lives for as long as possible, centrally involve social support and social networks for people living with dementia. The purpose of this research was to explore and understand the context of dementia in rural northern communities in Ontario with an emphasis on understanding how dementia friendly the communities were. Using qualitative methods, interviews were conducted with a total of 71 participants, including 37 health service providers, 15 care partners, 2 people living with dementia and 17 other community members such as local business owners, volunteers, local leaders, friends and neighbours. The strong social networks and informal social support that were available to people living with dementia, and the strong commitment by community members, families and health care providers to support people with dementia, were considered a significant asset to the community. A culture of care and looking out for each other contributed to the social support provided. In particular, the familiarity with others provided a supportive community environment. People with dementia were looked out for by community members, and continued to remain connected in their communities. The social support provided in these communities demonstrated that although fragile, this type of support offered somewhat of a safety net for individuals living with dementia. This work provides important insights into the landscape of dementia in rural northern Ontario communities, and the strong social supports that sustain people with dementia remaining in the communities.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Improving access to dementia care: development and evaluation of a rural and remote memory clinic.

          The availability, accessibility and acceptability of services are critical factors in rural health service delivery. In Canada, the aging population and the consequent increase in prevalence of dementia challenge the ability of many rural communities to provide specialized dementia care. This paper describes the development, operation and evaluation of an interdisciplinary memory clinic designed to improve access to diagnosis and management of early stage dementia for older persons living in rural and remote areas in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. We describe the clinic structure, processes and clinical assessment, as well as the evaluation research design and instruments. Finally, we report the demographic characteristics and geographic distribution of individuals referred during the first three years.
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            The greying of resource communities in northern British Columbia: implications for health care delivery in already-underserviced communities

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              Rural families caring for a relative with dementia: barriers to use of formal services.

              Planning for the care of increasing numbers of elderly persons with dementia has become an urgent health services concern in Canada and elsewhere, yet little is known about the challenges of providing appropriate dementia care in rural areas. A community-based approach was used to obtain input from decision-makers and others to develop the objectives and design for a study of rural dementia care in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. The resulting study design, which used both qualitative and quantitative methods, was then pilot tested in one rural health district (16,000 km2, population 20,000). This paper describes the study development process and reports selected findings from focus groups conducted with home care staff and family members, focussing on the theme of low use of formal supportive services such as home care and support groups by family caregivers. Participants identified eight barriers to the use of formal services, described consequences of low service use, and suggested strategies for addressing this concern.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Dementia
                Dementia
                SAGE Publications
                1471-3012
                1741-2684
                November 19 2015
                December 24 2013
                : 15
                : 1
                : 51-68
                Article
                10.1177/1471301213516118
                24381217
                © 2013

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