The COVID-19 and Dementia Task Force

The Alzheimer Society has convened a team of leading researchers, clinicians and dementia specialists from across the country.

The  COVID-19 and Dementia Task Force.

COVID-19 has left many Canadians living with dementia, caregivers, and families facing challenges they’ve never experienced, as the pandemic has exposed the gaps in dementia care across Canada’s health and long-term care systems.

In response, the Alzheimer Society has convened the COVID-19 and Dementia Task Force compiled of leading researchers, clinicians, and dementia specialists across the country, as well people with lived experience.

The goals of the Task Force

Drawing on their expertise and experience, the Task Force is addressing the gaps in our healthcare system that have left Canadians living with dementia in need of help.

However, the Task Force’s role is not just identifying where the problems are – they are creating solutions that will immediately improve care and support for people living with dementia, caregivers and families.

Senior woman wearing a mask and shopping in a supermarket.

1. Reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with dementia

Guidelines for acute care on allocating scarce resources to people with dementia during a pandemic

Healthcare provider showing a senior woman in her care something on her tablet.

2. Evaluating the delivery of virtual-care for people living with dementia

Recommendations for family physicians on what to consider for remote cognitive and behavioral assessments

Young woman looking up something on her laptop.

3. Analyzing the numbers behind COVID-19 & people with dementia

Understanding gaps in use of the healthcare system for people with dementia during the pandemic and the number of people with dementia who died due to COVID-19

Senior woman wearing a mask.

4. Understanding the impact of the pandemic on people with dementia in long-term care

Improving end-of-life care for people with dementia in long-term care homes during the pandemic

Nurse helping a senior man outside, both wearing masks.

5. Preventing a second healthcare crisis from the loss of nursing home staff to COVID-19

Uncovering the devaluation of nursing home staff during COVID-19: Are we fuelling the next healthcare crisis?

Senior man wearing a mask showing the heart symbol from inside his room.

6. Promoting quality of life for long-term care residents through a health crisis

Social connection is essential in long-term care homes: considerations during COVID-19 and beyond

Improving healthcare now and beyond the pandemic

Senior woman on bus wearing mask.

In collaboration with the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Geriatrics Society and others, the Task Force is working to ease the impact of the pandemic on the future of our healthcare system.

If another pandemic should hit, these measures would help ensure everyone in Canada – including people living with dementia, caregivers, families and healthcare providers – will be ready to tackle the challenges.

Please continue to check this page for more updates as the Task Force investigates possible solutions.

Thanks, and acknowledgements

We wish to thank and acknowledge the members of our Dementia and COVID-19 Task Force.

The team is co-led by Dr. Saskia Sivananthan, Chief Science & KTE Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Canada, Dr. Serge Gauthier and Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso.

  • Dr. Gauthier is a professor at McGill University in the Departments of Neurology & Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Medicine. He is also Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit at the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging.
  • Dr. Montero-Odasso is a professor at Western University, Departments of Medicine, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He is a geriatrician and clinician-scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute and an executive of the Canadian Geriatrics Society.

Dr. Serge Gauthier
McGill University

Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso
Western University & St Joseph Health Center London / Canadian Geriatrics Society

Dr. Saskia Sivananthan
Chief Science & KTE Officer
Alzheimer Society of Canada


Dr. Sandra Black
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Dr. Michael Borrie
St Joseph’s Health Care, London

Dr. Susan Bronskill

Dr. Richard Camicioli
University of Alberta

Dr. Howard Chertkow
Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging

Dr. Sid Feldman
The College of Family Physicians of Canada / Baycrest Health Sciences

Dr. John Fisk
Nova Scotia Health Authority

Dr. Maiya Geddes
McGill University

Mario Gregorio
Alzheimer Society of Canada Advisory Group of People Living with Dementia

Dr. Nathan Herrmann
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Dr. Zahinoor Ismail
University of Calgary

Dr. Inbal Itzhak
Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging

Patricia Keroack
Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging

Dr. Robert Laforce
Université Laval

Dr. Carrie McAiney
Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging

Dr. Katherine McGilton
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute - University Health Network

Dr. Megan O’Connell
University of Saskatchewan

Lisa Poole
Dementia Advocacy Canada

Dr. Julie Robillard
University of British Columbia

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood
Dalhousie University

Dr. Pedro Rosa
McGill University

Dr. Dallas Seitz
University of Calgary

Dr. Eric Smith
University of Calgary

Dr. Jean-Paul Soucy
McGill University

Dr. Isabelle Marie Vedel
McGill University

Claire Webster
McGill University

Victor Whitehead
Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging

Mary Beth Wighton
Dementia Advocacy Canada

Alzheimer Society of Canada

Haridos Apostolides
Research & KTE Coordinator

Our partners

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