CDC: A Complex and Unique Solution to Complex Dementia

Meet Bob Murdoch – or perhaps no introduction is needed.

Bob “Mud” Murdoch may be known for hockey in your home. In his home though, he was also known for his love of the outdoors, fishing, and above all, his love for his family. But if you had asked Bob about his greatest accomplishment, he would tell you it was marrying his beloved wife, Bev. He was a loving husband and doting father and grandpa.

Growing up in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Bob’s love for the outdoors was evident from a young age. He could always be found on the outdoor hockey rinks, perfecting his skills, and nurturing a passion that would later define his distinguished career. Bob’s journey took him to incredible heights, including two Stanley Cup wins with the Montreal Canadiens, playing for the Calgary Flames, and earning the Coach of the Year title with the Winnipeg Jets in 1990. He even proudly coached Team Canada to win gold at the World Championships in 1994.

Sleep disturbances, violent fighting dreams, and falling out of bed are not symptoms you would typically associate with dementia. Still, this was how it all began for Bob Murdoch and his wife Bev. These were the first signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinsonism, and probable Lewy Body Dementia–conditions that Bob would not be diagnosed with for some time. In fact, Bob was still scoring 100% on memory tests for dementia when his family started seeking support for his developing condition, knowing something was wrong.

In early 2022, Bob needed more care, and his family made the difficult decision to move him into a formal care setting. Bob’s journey eventually brought him to Bethany Riverview in Calgary in the fall of 2022, Southern Alberta’s largest purpose-built dementia care residence.

Our programs, such as the Complex Dementia Care (CDC) program (one of the only programs of its kind in Southern Alberta) and the extensive care and therapies within this program, offer a lifeline to families facing the complexities of dementia.

What is Complex Dementia Care (CDC)?

People living with dementia often have other medical conditions that require 24-hour care to address their physical, cognitive, and behavioural needs.

CDC is a program designed to support residents with these more complex needs associated with dementia. Bethany is a unique provider of this highly specialized dementia care located in a purpose-built site within a Campus of Care in Southern Alberta.

CDC creates a supportive and inclusive environment that encourages engagement in daily community living.

Our sites include spaces and residences specifically designed to meet the needs of people in the mid-to-late stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Additionally, sites like Bethany Riverview also embrace our campus of care model, encompassing the integration between the physical environment, social connections, health and wellness services, and community partnerships.

Complex Dementia Care at Bethany is Unique:

  • A comprehensive Interdisciplinary Team of physicians, geriatric psychiatrists, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, healthcare aides, recreational therapists, occupational therapists, a clinical pharmacist, clinical educators, and spiritual care practitioners.
  • An increased focus on individual residents with this Interdisciplinary Team, including regular reviews and reassessment of individual care plans.
  • Greater opportunity for interaction with therapists and physicians.
  • Private Rooms for Residents.
  • A purpose-built design at the Bethany Riverview location that includes 120 beds in 4 neighbourhoods.
  • Motion detector lights to keep residents safe when they move around at night.
  • Amber-toned lighting in resident rooms to minimize impacts on their circadian rhythms.
  • Colours and textures on doors and walls act as visual and physical cues for residents to navigate spaces more easily.
  • Resident-style kitchens with an open dining room to encourage residents to see and smell food to stimulate their appetites.

Bethany’s care is firmly grounded in evidence-based best practices and innovation in dementia care. All employees at Bethany participate in highly specialized training courses for dementia care, including Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA). Through our unique care model, we provide our residents with opportunities for moments of joy and purpose, creating a calm, peaceful state of being.

“Bob was finally where he needed to be. Bethany Riverview provided everything that both Bob and I required. He was well cared for, and it had allowed me to start taking care of myself.”  Bev Murdoch

The CDC program at Bethany Riverview opened the door for connection and re-connection with family and loved ones for Bob Murdoch and continues to change how ageing looks for the many individuals admitted to the program.

For more information on Bethany Riverview and the Complex Dementia Care Programs, click here.

To support the therapies the Foundation funds to enhance the lives of our residents, click here to make a donation.

Lewy Body and Alzheimer’s Disease

In Canada, more than 600,000 people are living with dementia, and this number is projected to increase to one million by 2030 (Canadian Institutes of Health Research 2023).

Dementia is not just a single condition. Instead, it is an overarching term that describes symptoms affecting brain function, from a loss of memory and coordination to weak and stiff muscles or mood and behaviour changes. This combination of conditions often calls for customized care to meet your loved one’s needs.

Bethany Care Society is a unique provider of highly specialized care for dementia residents in the Calgary Zone. Complex Dementia Care (CDC) is a program designed to manage residents with more complex behaviours and needs associated with Dementia. The CDC program is meant to be temporary (the average length of stay is between 6 and 18 months) with the eventual goal of returning residents to the home environment of their choice once stabilized. CDC creates a supportive and inclusive environment that encourages engagement in daily community living.

At Bethany, we deliver care differently. As one of Western Canada’s largest not-for-profit providers of senior care and housing, Bethany provides the right home at the right time and place with the right care. We are firmly grounded in evidence-based best practices and innovation in dementia care. We provide our residents with opportunities for moments of joy and purpose, creating a calm, peaceful state of being.

Types of Dementia

Dementia can come in many different shapes and forms. Lewy Body and Alzheimer’s are two types of dementia conditions we often see.

Lewy Body Disease:

Lewy body dementia (LBD) accounts for between 5 and 10% of all dementia cases. LBD occurs when abnormal protein deposits develop inside the brain’s nerve cells – called ‘Lewy bodies’.  These Lewy bodies typically affect the areas of the brain involved with thinking and movement. The built-up mass of Lewy bodies blocks messages between brain cells, leading to dementia. LBD can occur in the same person alongside Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. When this happens, it is known as “mixed dementia”.

Alzheimer’s Disease:

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80% of all cases of dementia. However, not all people with dementia have Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is fatal and eventually affects all aspects of a person’s life – how they think, feel, and act. Each person is affected differently. It is incredibly difficult to predict the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, from the order in which they will appear or the speed of their progression. However, there are some warning signs you can look out for, available here through the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada here.

For more information on how Bethany creates caring communities, please visit our website or reach out toll-free 1-888-410-4679.

For more information on Lewy Body Disease and Alzheimer’s, as well as other Dementia conditions, please visit:


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Date modified, 2023-06-09):

Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, Alzheimer’s Disease (Date modified, 2023-06-09)::

Alzeimer’s Society of Canada, Lewy body disease (Date modified, 2023-06-09):