Ali Cada

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A visionary creative, he taps into the strengths of people with dementia

Ali inspires anyone he meets with his smile, warmth and authentic compassion. It’s his subtle superpower. He left the finance industry to follow his calling to work in seniors’ health care.

Ali has a nursing degree, a graduate certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and Aging, and a certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy. He manages the Club 36 Adult Day Program for the Alzheimer Society of Calgary. There, he aims to bring innovative, evidence-based programs to Club that bring out each person’s strengths. His primary goal is to make creative arts accessible to all elders in the community, including people living with dementia.

Back in 2014, Ali brought Opening Minds through Art (OMA) to Calgary and partnered with the University of Calgary Nursing Faculty. Through his leadership and implementation of OMA, he has mentored over 500 nursing students and impacted hundreds of people living with dementia.

Working as a trainer and certified facilitator, he has brought successful creative programs for people with dementia to programs across Calgary, including OMA, Alzheimer Poetry Project, Music and Memory, Timeslips and The Village Improv for Alzheimer’s Club.

Ali develops friends and partnerships easily. He has challenged the community to think outside the proverbial box, and works in partnership with WP Puppet Theatre and Inside Out Theater to make creative art accessible for seniors.

And as if he didn’t have enough on his plate, Ali is currently the president of the Creative Aging Calgary Society and pursuing his master’s degree in Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida.

Why are you so devoted to this cause? "One of my missions life is to make a difference in the lives of seniors by bringing joy and meaning to their life in a unique way."

What is one thing you wish more people knew or understood about dementia? "A dementia diagnosis is life-changing but not life-ending."