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December News 2022

This winter, in a season known for gathering and reflecting, we’d like to share news about some of our gatherings with you, fill you in on some of our learnings, and reflect on where we go from here.

It’s been a busy year filled with growth, connection, and progress. Here’s the latest!


Awareness Building

United Way’s Pan-National Healthy Aging CORE webinar

The Building Capacity Project presented a webinar November 15th hosted by the United Way of BC’s CORE Healthy Aging Initiative. The webinar, entitled “The Case for Engaging People with Dementia in Community Support Efforts” featured speakers from both the Vancouver and Thunder Bay sites of the project, including Mary Jane MacLennan, Chair of the Westside Seniors Hub Council; Andréa Monteiro, Community Research Coordinator; Alison Phinney, Project Co-Lead, Bailey Vandorp, Project Point Person; Carlina Marchese, Knowledge Broker, Bill Heibein, North West Dementia Working Group Member and Advocate; and Heather Neale Furneaux as moderator.

Our conversational approach effectively showcased the collaborative nature of this work and addressed key issues that have come up along the way as we implemented programs and ideas, like stigma, for example, and the value of participation for people with lived experience.

Bill Heibein talked about how his participation allows him to help others, while also benefitting him: keeping him up to date with the latest ideas about how to live well with dementia. Audience members were invited to participate, adding comments into the chat throughout and it was an exciting opportunity to give the project more widespread exposure and invite new members of the community to get involved.

Listen to the full recording here:


Canada’s National podcast “DEMENTIA DIALOGUE” featured Alison Phinney and Granville Johnson from The Flipping Stigma Project on their latest episode which aired last month. Along with host Lisa Loiselle, Phinney and Johnson dove into the fear and stigma that hold our communities back from engaging more with people with dementia, and they addressed how we can counter that.

Listen to the full recording here:



our project’s social media campaign to raise awareness and

combat stigma now has 445 followers on Instagram!

The storyboard-style excerpts we produce based on important conversations around dementia started back in the spring of 2021 and has gained traction and popularity across three social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) spreading the word about key aspects of how to better support people with dementia in community.

Featuring a cross-section of voices including those of people with lived experience, caregivers, and health care professionals and researchers, the storyboards publish every Thursday and are accompanied by weekly community event announcements every Tuesday. Here is a sneak peak:


To see them all, visit @westsideseniorshub in social media

or click the button below and LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!


Sharing The Learning

Our BCP team attended the Canadian Association of Gerontology conference in Regina this October, and walked away deeply inspired by the people, presenters, and energy.

The conference was very lively featuring myriad new scholars doing important research around dementia. We presented twice to audiences of about 50 people and our work was well received overall. This conference offered a fantastic opportunity to glimpse the different kinds of projects being undertaken across the country and connect with some of the country’s other leaders in the field.


We also attended the CDLRN (Canadian Dementia Learning and Resources Network) Conference in Waterloo later in October. This was an opportunity to gather ideas in more of a small group setting and listen to presentations on sustainability and how to scale up projects like ours. It was very helpful to think about how we could grow into other communities across the country.


The Building Capacity Project team in partnership with The Flipping Stigma team has been conducting in-service trainings around town for various partners and community groups. This month we visited the Vancouver Public Library and ASK Friendship Centre. At ASK, we sat in a circle, which proved a wonderful and intimate way to tackle important questions specific to this site and its community members.

These gatherings never cease to prompt important connections and learnings both for the participants and the facilitators. The Vancouver Public Library event was done in conjunction with the Alzheimer Society of BC. It was hosted by the Kitsilano branch and involved librarians from other West Side and West End branches as well.


On December 11th, Thunder Bay's Dementia Cafe featured a special performance by musician Glen Paterson, who treated the crowd to some lovely Christmas carols, infusing everyone with warm, holiday vibes. The crowd even joined in to sing along for Feliz Navidad.



South Granville Seniors Centre’s Happy Memories Cafe is moving back to a face-to-face model starting this February.

The friendly and inviting monthly gathering (one for English speakers, and one for Spanish speakers) will be held in-person at the centre. One of the most important emerging learnings we’ve gathered so far is the importance of creating a safe space where members can feel a sense of belonging alongside others who are like them, and The Happy Memories Café provides exactly that.

Get in touch to find out more


Kitsilano Neighbourhood House hosted Granville Johnson as their guest speaker at one of their weekly lunch events last month.

Johnson is a prolific writer, artist, and musician, but technology got in the way of his virtual musical performance, and of having him share thoughts and insights on life with dementia. Both KNH and Granville are hoping they can reconnect in person for another try.


Westpoint Grey Church offered two training events, one on brain health, and the other about being a dementia friend for their congregation last month that were a big hit.

Both were presented as hybrid in person/virtual events and featured simultaneous translation of ASBC’s Julia Savilli’s presentation into Mandarin. In the new year, they plan to expand their training and knowledge of dementia going forward through more events like these, drawing on the experiential training the Building Capacity project has done, using the Flipping Stigma toolkit as a basis for a conversation.


Kits Community Centre held two information gathering sessions over the past two months, to learn more about how they can serve their community. Both caregivers and people with dementia attended, and the facilitator’s collaborative approach worked beautifully to spark insightful conversation around how the centre could better support families and community members.

The group was very interested in brain health, for instance, and keen on fun, stimulating activities they can join. The Centre plans to hold these events more regularly going forward in order to stay nimble and continue to grow and shift services as the needs of the community evolve.


Learn More about the Building Capacity Project

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