DELIGHT (Dementia Lifestyle Interventions for Growing Healthy Together) Project

Persons living with dementia and family care partners want to improve their health, maintain independence, and enhance well-being. Habilitation strategies towards this goal are needed. The purpose of the DELIGHT project was to co-design a feasible, effective multi-domain program (the DELIGHT program) to meet the health and well-being goals of persons living with dementia and their family/friend care partners.

Using a participatory approach, the DELIGHT Project is guided by a core team of researchers, graduate students, staff, persons living with dementia, care partners, and a representative of the Alzheimer Society. The co-design team includes this core and additional persons living with dementia and care partners, exercise professionals, dietitians, health care professionals, and community service providers.

Due to COVID-19, all DELIGHT meetings have been virtual since May 2019 (7 core team and 6 co-design meetings), using breakout rooms for co-design discussions. Co-design meetings focused on identifying the target group and goals of the program, as well as identifying and developing program components and structure. For co-design meetings, 2-3 guiding questions were used to focus discussion on a specific topic (e.g., target goals, exercise). The core team reflected on co-design discussions to finalize the program structure.

The result is the DELIGHT program, designed to promote living well among persons recently diagnosed with dementia and their care partners. The program will meet twice weekly with 1 hour of exercise and 30 minutes of facilitated discussion and learning with a healthy snack and social engagement. Learning will focus on healthy eating, sleeping well, mental well-being, social connection, and physical activity. The program manual and resources are in development. We plan to pilot the DELIGHT program in 2021 (likely virtually), with potential for meaningful impact on the well-being of persons living with dementia and their care partners.