Conestoga news

May 5, 2021 2:58 PM

Free dementia care training available in multiple languages

A dementia care training program developed and launched through the Canadian Institute for Seniors Care at Conestoga earlier this year is available in English and French, and will soon be expanded to include delivery in Mandarin and Tagalog.

The Canadian Remote Access for Dementia Learning Experiences (CRADLE) program is a national initiative to help unregulated care providers across Canada develop essential skills to support those living with dementia in the community or in nursing or retirement homes. The online program is available free of charge for up to 50,000 personal support workers and other unregulated care providers (UCP).

“Our goal is to offer this course to care providers across Canada, but we are focused on equity-seeking groups so we have designed the course to address the needs of people living in rural and remote areas, newcomers to Canada and people whose first language is not English,” said Dr. Veronique Boscart, executive director, Canadian Institute for Seniors Care. “We wanted to ensure our largest workforce cohorts have the course available in their first language.”

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre, the online interactive training course is short, focused and accessible. It includes five 20-minute modules where seniors selected from diverse communities across Canada share their personal experiences living with dementia. The approach ensures the training is person-centred, not just focused on the disease itself, and each module has been designed with specific skill outcomes.

In order to make CRADLE applicable and relevant to UCPs across Canada, it was developed through the support of an advisory committee that included those living with dementia. Over the next ten years, it is expected the number of people in Canada living with dementia will approach one million. 

“CRADLE is designed so that learners can work through the modules at their own pace and in the language of their choice,” added Boscart. “Each module presents real-life problems in which the UCP is asked to respond to what is happening.”

Meagan Labrie-Fox, a personal support worker who works in a long-term care home, has completed the course.

“CRADLE is interactive and engaging. Having it online allowed me to complete it on my own time, and the diversity of it allowed for me to reflect on my practice,” said Labrie-Fox. “That was beneficial. I would highly recommend CRADLE to all unregulated care providers.”

During a CRADLE research showcase held last month, Boscart said there are also plans to evaluate the impact of the course on both UCP and employers to understand how the skills and knowledge are retained, to explore barriers that may exist with online learning, and to determine if the course has supported workforce engagement and retention.

Pedro Barata, executive director of the Future Skills Centre (FSC), said the CRADLE program, which offers multilingual, online training on the complexities of caring for people living with dementia, will have a significant impact on caregivers and employers as well as Canada’s aging population.

“The demand for these services is expected to increase greatly in the coming decade, and FSC is pleased to be investing in this much-needed and innovative program. The novel approach to training used in this program will enhance the skills and knowledge of caregivers, many of whom are newcomers to Canada, as well as supporting workers in rural and remote areas, employers at nursing homes and seniors care organizations across the country,” said Barata.

“This is just one of the projects funded by FSC that identifies emerging and in-demand skills and tests new methods of training delivery to ensure that every Canadian has the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from shared prosperity.”

CRADLE learning modules are open for a year and those who complete the training are provided with a certificate. Training is currently available in English and French, with Mandarin and Tagalog modules launching in May.

To learn more about CRADLE and to register, visit

The Canadian Institute for Seniors Care, led by Dr. Veronique Boscart, the CIHR/Schlegel Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Seniors Care, focuses on education, workforce development and applied research to develop highly qualified personnel to improve the quality of life and care for Canada’s growing population of seniors.