Calgary Fire Department and The Brenda Strafford Foundation Partner on Dementia-friendly Communities

The Calgary Fire Department and The Brenda Strafford Foundation held a demonstration dementia awareness training, last October, with Calgary firefighters as part The Foundation’s Dementia Friendly Communities Project.

The Calgary Fire Department is working with The Brenda Strafford Foundation to provide front-line dementia training to first responders in an innovative partnership that aligns with Alberta’s new dementia strategy and action plan.

Dementia awareness training will be provided to all Calgary firefighters in February and March 2018.

“The training helps firefighters develop awareness of what life is like with dementia through experiential learning,” says Derek Arthurs, Community Safety Officer at the Calgary Fire Department. “It helps participants develop new skills to support people with dementia more effectively so that firefighters can better support our city`s vulnerable populations.”

As the population ages, more and more Canadians will be affected by dementia. In 2011 alone, there were 750,000 Canadians affected by dementia. By 2031, this is expected to rise to 1.4 million.

First responders will play an important role in keeping those living with dementia safe, and will help dementia patients to reside in their homes and communities for longer periods by ensuring that anyone in distress will be reached by first responders within 7 minutes (Calgary Fire’s first unit response time target).

“Research tells us that Dementia Friendly Communities help people impacted by dementia and their caregivers feel included, safe and supported in the places where they work, live and socialize,” says Navjot Virk, Research and Innovative Practice Coordinator at The Brenda Strafford Foundation. “Through community outreach initiatives, we can educate others about dementia and increase understanding that a person with dementia may sometimes experience the world differently.”

The Brenda Stafford Foundation’s Dementia Friendly Communities Project is aimed at creating supportive communities to help seniors living with dementia stay longer in their homes, as well as raise awareness and understanding to reduce stigma associated with dementia. A toolkit is being created to support the spread of Dementia Friendly Communities throughout the province. It is funded by Alberta Seniors and Housing, Alberta Innovates, Alberta Health Services and The Brenda Strafford Foundation.

For more information on Dementia Friendly Communities, please visit: