January is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, with events scheduled across Canada to help increase the public’s knowledge and awareness of the debilitating, fatal disease that robs the memory and to encourage early diagnosis. Nearly 750,000 Canadians currently are living with dementia. As the population continues to age, that number is expected to increase by 2030 to 1.4 million.
The fear and stigma of Alzheimer’s continues, though, creating an atmosphere of denial and putting up barriers to early diagnosis. In a recent study, 60 percent of Canadians questioned said the stigma they believe people associate with mental health issues would make it harder for them to disclose that a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Early diagnosis, however, can give patients access to medications that typically work best when taken early. It also allows families to plan for the future and gives them and the patient access to information and support that will help them deal with the disease and stay active and independent longer.
Alzheimer’s Awareness Activities in Canada
In an effort to counteract this stigma, the Alzheimer’s Society is sponsoring a number of events during the month. Here is a highlight of some of the events across Canada.
On January 15, the Alzheimer’s Society of Nova Scotia is sponsoring “Let’s Talk About Dementia,” an information seminar, 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Pleasantville Fire Hall on Highway 331. The topics will include information about the disease, how to encourage brain health, and ways to help the families that are affected.
“Discussions About Dementia,” a forum on working with older adults with some form of dementia, will be held January 21, 1-4 p.m., at the Bridgewater Fire Hall on Dominion Street.
On January 23, there is a free public forum on “Early Diagnosis of Dementia: Why Would I Want to Know?” at the Harbourview Lounge, 2615 Northwood Terrace in Halifax. A welcome reception starts at 6:30 p.m., with a panel discussion from 7-8:30 p.m.
Dr. Sultan Darvesh will conduct a seminar on diagnosis and treatment strategies concerning forms of dementia on January 30 at 1 p.m. at the Amherst 50+ Club, 52 Croft St.
On January 21, the Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario is hosting a program, “Finding Your Way,” to provide advice on how patients can be safe while still being active in their communities. The program runs 7-8:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Health Centre’s main floor auditorium. Call 519-836-7672 to register.
The Kenora Alzheimer’s Society is sponsoring the Linda Johnson Memorial Dinner, January 25, in Rainy River. There also will be an open house January 23 at the society’s headquarters.
On January 29, 7-8:30 p.m., the Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba is sponsoring a forum, “Dementia…The Answers You Need,” at St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre in the Samuel N. Cohen Auditorium. The free panel discussion will focus on reducing risk factors and options for treatment.
“Empowered Care” will be held each Monday through February 3. The workshop at the Alzheimer’s Society of Calgary main office will present practical skills for caregivers. The cost is $50. Call 403-290-0110 for information.
“Understanding Dementia” on January 18 will present an overview of the topic, 9-11:30 a.m. at the Hotel Blackfoot (was The Blackfoot Inn) in Calgary.
Communities across B.C. will be participating in the Investors Group Walk for Memories fund raiser on January 26. There is no fee for entering. Call 604-742-4912 to register or donate.
Prince Edward Island
January 23 Alzheimers Awareness Conference
In honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Marianne Sciucco, author of Blue Hydrangeas, will be offering discounted Kindle downloads of the book through January 31. The book is a story about the love of a couple facing the challenges of Alzheimer’s.
Walk for Memories
Across Canada, at locations in several provinces, the Walk for Memories is a fundraising event that helps to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s.
To register or sponsor a participant, learn more about Walk For Memories events in your province:
Does Your Loved One Need Alzheimer’s Care?
If you have a family member with Alzheimer’s who is living in their own home, you have the option to provide quality care for them, allowing them to remain living independently. Retire-At-Home has locations across Canada, and has experienced caregivers that can help a senior cope with the daily challenges of Alzheimer’s. Contact us today to learn more.