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 LDJ program:
- increases understanding of dementia and provides a new perspective of the experience living with dementia.
- applies a person-centred approach to providing individualized support.
- enhances relationship-building skills to support people living with dementia with compassion and respect.
- shares strategies to recognize, interpret, and respond to personal expressions (behaviours).
- addresses ways to tackle boredom, loneliness, and helplessness by creating opportunities for meaning, purpose, and growth.
The program emphasizes the importance of shifting care and services to focus on a person’s strengths and abilities, and how each person can be supported in living life to the fullest. LDJ was created in collaboration with people living with dementia and their care partners. It provides a fresh perspective on dementia care and support based on real life experiences.
The LDJ program has six core modules:
- LEARNING about the experience of dementia
- IMPROVING personal well-being
- VALIDATING and honouring each person in the moment
- INTERPRETING personal expressions, actions and reactions
- NURTURING all relationships
- GREETING each day as an opportunity for meaning, purpose and growth
Click here to learn more about the topics covered in each module.
LDJ has two options for learners:
- Overview workshop: For community members, family care partners, team members at home care/service organizations, and those providing support at long-term care and retirement homes.
- Train-the-trainer workshop: For organizations interested in building capacity to train and support their teams.
Click here to learn more about upcoming LDJ workshops.
LDJ facilitator portal
Are you an LDJ facilitator? Click here to access the LDJ facilitator portal!
Meet the RIA education facilitators
The following RIA Education Facilitators are located across Canada and deliver the LDJ overview and train-the-trainer workshops.
Carrie Briscoe, Ontario, Canada
Carrie studied Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Waterloo and has experience working in long-term care, community, and research with older adults. Carrie has been facilitating the LIVING the Dementia Journey program since 2018, and loves hearing stories about the wonderful ways healthcare workers are caring and supporting people living with dementia across North America.
Erika Rice, Ontario, Canada
Erika has been a dementia educator for almost 10 years. She has facilitated programs for care partners, healthcare professionals and the general public. She has also facilitated a self-management program for people living with dementia where she has been inspired by the resiliency of people determine to live their best life after being diagnosed with dementia. In LIVING the Dementia Journey, members of the care team consider how to support people to live well with dementia, which why is Erika loves facilitating this program!
Jamie Lai, Ontario, Canada
Jamie is a registered social worker with a specialization in gerontology. She studied gerontology and health studies, as well as society, culture, and religion at McMaster University and completed her Master of Social Work at the University of Windsor. She has experience working in the community, long term care settings, and in hospitals. Jamie has a passion for sharing knowledge and education, and is always excited to learn more about what the different experiences of our learners bring to the table.
Jodie Walker, Ontario, Canada
Jodie studied Kinesiology and Health Science at York University. She went on to work in a variety of care settings as a recreation team member, kinesiologist and neighbourhood coordinator. She enjoys sharing stories from these different roles to help deliver the LDJ program. Jodie has enjoyed facilitating this program with the RIA since 2018. She finds that each LDJ workshop generates a special energy that motivates and encourages each person who is participating. She feels that it is a privilege to be a part of a program celebrating the continued movement towards a more caring community for those living with dementia.
Kim Cusimano, Ontario, Canada
A lived family experience sparked a passion for supporting older adults and persons living with dementia. Through an educational background in recreation, leisure, and volunteer engagement, Kim has 25+ years of experience in the community, retirement and long-term care as a recreational professional, a leader of volunteers and most recently through volunteer involvement as Board Chair for the Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington and Board Trustee with The Elliott Community in Guelph, Ontario. Kim has been facilitating LIVING the Dementia Journey since 2018 and is grateful for the opportunity to learn about the perspectives and experiences of all in the caring circle. Together, Kim believes, we can positively impact the lives of individuals across the country through this award-winning program.
Leslie Parham, New Brunswick, Canada
Leslie wants to be in a world where people living with dementia have the best lives possible and actively contribute to their families and communities. (She also wants to live in a world where there is always a warm dog or two at her feet, warm cat in her lap and a hot cup of tea by her side.) Leslie has worked for Alzheimer Societies across Ontario on and off since 1997 before retiring in 2021 from the Alzheimer of Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland & Haliburton. “LIVING the Dementia Journey is one of the best education programs I’ve encountered, I’m glad to have a role in sharing it with others.”
Nadia Tajdin, Quebec, Canada
Nadia has a Masters degree in Dementia Studies and Public Health, and over 10 years of experience working in care settings as an Educator, Rehabilitation Assistant and PSW. Nadia really enjoys getting to know each of the LDJ participants at every workshop, and loves being able to facilitate a curriculum that is created in collaboration with people living with dementia and their care partners.
Ramandeep Kaur Lotey, Ontario, Canada
Raman studied Honours Health Studies with minors in gerontology and medical physiology from the University of Waterloo. She has varied work experience, such as volunteering for UW Well fit program, Kin Student therapist, recreation aide in a long-term care and retirement home. She worked for a year and a half with people living with dementia as a recreation aide, which helps to understand the needs of residents and how we as healthcare workers can make their life experiences better. Her favorite part of facilitating the LDJ program is to enlighten others through sharing stories and providing comfortable space for exchange of thoughts and knowledge.
To contact the LDJ team, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LDJ makes the difference
“It’s been next to a miracle for me. All the things they’re teaching me now I went through not knowing what I was going through. It’s opening my eyes; I wish I had known it years ago.”Family member of person living with dementia
“Our team members are very mindful of the language they’re using and it has improved maybe 80%. I’m not hearing any of the language that you used to associate with long-term care. It’s much softer and more respectful.”Team member, retirement and long-term care
“I love that the content is developed by persons living with dementia. And that this training is made for everyone.”Program participant