COVID 19 and Dementia Task Force

COVID-19 has exposed many gaps in dementia care across Canada’s health and long-term care systems. Due to this pandemic, many Canadians living with dementia, caregivers and families are facing challenges they’ve never faced before.

In response, the Alzheimer Society convened the COVID-19 and Dementia Task Force, a team of leading researchers, clinicians and dementia specialists from across the country.

What are the goals of the Task Force?

1. Ensuring better care for Canadians living with dementia  

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

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

2. Reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with dementia

Dementia is already an isolating disease in the best of times. Amidst this pandemic, people living with dementia are feeling even more overwhelmed and confused.

That is why the Task Force immediately set out to develop guidelines for frontline and healthcare staff. These guidelines are designed to help staff when they are making difficult decisions about allocating lifesaving resources. Through these guidelines, the human rights and dignity of people living with dementia can be protected.

Guidelines: Allocating Scarce Resources to People with Dementia During a Pandemic

Improving healthcare now and beyond the pandemic

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 also working to ease the impact of the pandemic on the future of our healthcare system  That way, if another pandemic hits, everyone in Canada – including people living with dementia, caregivers, families and healthcare providers – will be well prepared to tackle the challenges.

For example, one way of easing the impact could involve making more and better use of telemedicine. Another way could be advocating for and improving dementia care in long-term care homes and more.

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

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. Manuel 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

Riley Malvern
Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Coordinator

Rosanne Meandro
Director, Communications

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Last Updated: 06/16/2020