The Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) is an innovative program that integrates research and education in an effort to improve dementia care practices in Canada and around the world. MAREP uses a partnership approach and collaborates with individuals living with dementia, their families and care partners.
MAREP was founded in 1993 by Kenneth Murray, whose experience as a care partner for his late wife Helen inspired him to support a research and education initiative that improves the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
In fall 2018, MAREP is moving its home base from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo to the RIA.
- LIVING the Dementia Journey (LDJ) is an award-winning, evidence-informed training program for those who support people living with dementia. Participants gain awareness and understanding that changes not only the way they view dementia, but the way they support people living with it.
- The By Us For Us© Guides (BUFU guides) are a series of guides created by a group of talented and passionate persons with dementia and/or partners in care. The guides are designed to equip persons with dementia with the necessary tools to enhance their well being and manage daily challenges.
Additional resources are available on the MAREP website, but stay tuned as we transition content over to the RIA site in the coming months.
Authentic Partnership Approach
Over the past decade, MAREP has adopted an Authentic Partnership approach with people living with dementia, family care partners and professionals to guide our work.
Three guiding principles
- a genuine regard for self and others,
- synergistic relationships where the collective wisdom of the group is seen as richer than the knowledge and skills of any one person, and
- a focus on the process that allows for supportive modifications and creative responses to issues developed from new learning.
These principles serve as our moral compass that guide us towards making decisions for all of our work.
Five enabling factors
- Connect and commit. This enabler joins partners from different backgrounds together, to mutually set partnership goals and guidelines, considering the strengths of all partners involved.
- Create a safe space. To support the formation of strong relationships, a safe space must be established that is built on trust and where all partners feel comfortable and open, both physically and emotionally, to share their opinions. The space must also be free of distractions and fuel an awareness and sensitivity to any discomfort or frustration felt by the partners.
- Value diverse perspectives. This enabler emphasizes the importance of appreciating and considering all ideas, contributions, and forms of participation within the Authentic Partnership. This enabler also views differences between partners as opportunities to learn and grow from each other.
- Establish and maintain open communication. Building strong lines of communication and connection within the partnership, requires partners to use accessible language, clarify meanings, and provide alternative ways of sharing within the partnership, which may include the need for flexibility during meetings, to provide partners extra time to share and communicate.
- Conduct regular reflection and dialogue. This enabler focuses on ongoing check-ins throughout the development of Authentic Partnerships. It promotes the need for personal and group reflection and communication within the partnership, to assess what is going well, what can be improved, and how the partnerships can be strengthened.
MAREP has been a pioneer in supporting people with dementia in knowledge generation and translation in that all of our research and education initiatives involve collaboration between all relevant stakeholders, including researchers, people with dementia, families, staff, and community members. MAREP actively includes all stakeholders directly in decision making and acknowledges the value of diverse perspectives. In other words we work WITH, not FOR others.
Essentially, we work in collaboration with our partners, including people with dementia because we feel:
- People with dementia have the right to be, and must be, involved in dementia care
- Understanding the experiences of dementia from the perspective of those living with dementia is critical to quality of life
- People with dementia can continue to grow and learn but need adequate information, resources and support to do so
- Good dementia care requires strong partnerships between all involved in dementia care
MAREP was founded in 1993 by Kenneth Murray, whose experience as a care partner for his late wife Helen inspired him to support a research and education initiative that advances dementia care and improves the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
MAREP operated within the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo celebrating many successes for 23 years before moving to the RIA in 2018.