The Rural Dementia Action Research website was initially created to support the research initiatives of members of a New Emerging Team grant (2003-2009) funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Funding through an Applied Chair in Health Services and Policy Research (2009-2015) from CIHR and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) allowed the research team at the University of Saskatchewan to build on the momentum gained during the previous years. Current funding from both the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging [CCNA] (2014-2019) and SHRF, and a CIHR Foundation Grant (2016-2023) supports our research activities. This funding supports our research activities and projects with research partners in other regions in Canada and internationally. A growing area of need in the current health care system, rural dementia care is demanding the attention of health care providers, researchers, and policy makers.
Research by the Rural Dementia Action Research (RaDAR) Team is inspired by the needs of Saskatchewan's aging population:
- As of July, 2015, more than 14% of the population of Saskatchewan is aged 65 years and over.
- Currently, over 500,000 Canadians are estimated to be living with dementia, and the number is projected to rise to 937,000 in the next 15 years.
- Older adults in Saskatchewan are much more likely to live in rural areas.
- Rural older adults with dementia face multiple disparities accessing health care services, such as fewer services, greater travel distances, lack of transportation, lower availability of highly trained staff, and difficulty providing continuing education to health care providers.
- There is a growing need for more research into new approaches for delivering services to rural and northern communities.
We are guided by these strategies for care:
- The members of the RaDAR Team are facing the challenge to improve the delivery of rural dementia care across the continuum: from early detection and diagnosis to end of life care.
- Early diagnosis and treatment have proven to be key components in alleviating stress, providing direction for treatment, and allowing patients and families to plan for the future.
- The use of telecommunications and information technology are improving the delivery of health care services across distances.