The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) announced today that Dr. Laura Middleton, a researcher in Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences and Schlegel Research Chair in Dementia and Active Living, received a grant of more than $979,000 over four years for a project called Dementia Lifestyle Intervention for Getting Healthy Together (DELIGHT). Middleton leads the project alongside Dr. Heather Keller and Dr. Carrie McAiney, both in the Faculty of Health.

Middleton describes the DELIGHT program as an eight-week multi-component healthy lifestyle program for people living with dementia and their care partners. It includes exercise and shared learning on health-related topics such as healthy eating, social engagement, sleep quality, mental well-being and physical activity.

The project will build on promising results from previous pilots, adapting DELIGHT to new contexts by working with diverse organizations and audiences so that it can be implemented in community centres, rural communities and cultural centres that service the Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking communities.

“DELIGHT was co-designed with people living with dementia, care partners, health-care professionals and community service providers to improve the health, function and well-being of people living with dementia and their families,” said Middleton. “This grant will allow us to adapt and implement the DELIGHT program for different communities – evaluating and spreading the impact of this program.”

In addition, Dr. Carrie McAiney — a School of Public Health Sciences professor and Schlegel Research Chair in Dementia — who leads the Forward with Dementia project also received $435,492 funding from PHAC. “The Forward with Dementia initiative is expanding across Canada by adapting resources, developing website content, and designing and implementing campaign strategies to address stigma within diverse cultural and linguistic groups, specifically Chinese, South Asian and Italian communities,” McAiney said.

As co-principal investigator on the Cultural Adaptation of MINT Memory Clinics project with Dr. Linda Lee, Dr. McAiney’s team received another $831, 810 in funding to adapt training and resources to meet the needs of several diverse populations across the country.

PHAC is an organization of Health Canada. Its activities focus on preventing disease and injuries, responding to public health threats, promoting good physical and mental health and providing information to support informed decision making.