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SFU and Hong Kong PolyU symposium to share best practices in dementia care

March 11, 2019

By Kevin Wagner

Simon Fraser University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) are collaborating on the Knowledge-sharing Symposium on Person-Centred Care for Older Adults With Dementia on May 6 and 7 at SFU Harbour Centre.

The event, which is open to the public, will bring together eldercare stakeholders in policy, practice and academia from both countries to showcase best practices and innovations in person-centred care (PCC) for older adults with dementia.

Appropriate care and support for persons with dementia are becoming pressing issues for both Canada and Hong Kong. In Canada, 16 per cent of the population comprises adults aged 65 and over. By the year 2036, Statistics Canada expects that proportion to rise to 25 per cent. Hong Kong faces similar demographic changes—older adults increased to 16 per cent of the population in 2016 from 12 per cent in 2006.

The most recent Canadian data, from 2011, revealed that more than 350,000 older Canadians were living in residential care facilities, where nearly three of every five residents had a diagnosis of dementia.

PCC is a philosophy and care approach that emphasize the values, preferences, family situations, social circumstances and lifestyles of people residing in care settings. It urges caregivers to see a person with dementia as a whole individual and to work and communicate with them in ways that honour their psychological, social, emotional and spiritual preferences and needs. To date, research reveals that PCC-based principles can decrease behavioural symptoms in people with dementia, and reduce the use of psychotropic medications. However, traditional medical-oriented care, with its emphasis on processes, schedules, and staff and organizational needs, continues to dominate the long-term care sector.

Professor Habib Chaudhury, chair of SFU’s Department of Gerontology, and professor Daniel Lai, head of the Department of Applied Social Sciences at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) are collaborating on the symposium. Speakers include policymakers, healthcare providers and researchers from B.C. and Hong Kong, SFU, PolyU, and UBC.

Chaudhury says the symposium will be an important step toward change in B.C. and Hong Kong.

Other symposium sponsors are SFU’s Office of the Vice-President, Research and International, and SFU’s David Lam Centre for International Communication. See the complete conference program, including a list of speakers. Tickets can be purchased here.