Vancouver Island has a high population of older adults, and in Greater Victoria the population over age 75 is expected to increase by 115% over the next 20 years.  Locally, there is a higher prevalence of dementia in those age 45+ than in other regions, and the incidence of dementia here has been called a rising tide.

Established in 2017, the Neil and Susan Manning Cognitive Health Initiative is an innovative five-year project that integrates leading-edge research and care for patients living with cognitive health issues on Vancouver Island. The Mannings, a family impacted by dementia, made a generous pledge to Victoria Hospitals Foundation to support cognitive health care and research. This inspired a collaboration among VHF, Island Health, the University of Victoria (UVic), and the University of British Columbia (UBC) to launch the Neil and Susan Manning Cognitive Health Initiative.

“Our family knows firsthand how a cognitive health illness can impact a patient and their loved ones. That’s why we’re proud to support this important collaborative research that aims to better understand cognitive health diseases like dementia, and improve the services and treatment available for those affected,” says Neil Manning​.

CHI researchers and clinicians are designing and running a collection of cognitive health disorder studies to help improve patient treatment and prognosis.

Some highlights to date include:

  • The development of a Dementia Guidance System and a mobile app to help in the diagnosis and tracking of cognitive health symptoms
  • The opening of a Specialist Memory Clinic at the Seniors Outpatient Clinic at Royal Jubilee Hospital, a first for the region
  • Expanding opportunities for patients with dementia to participate in research by expanding the number of clinical trials available in the region
  • Creating direct linkages with UVic researchers for patients to participate in local research, for example research into advanced MRI analyses