Written By: Tuesday, January 10th 2017

Alzheimer Society kicks off Alzheimer Awareness Month with new campaign

This year, the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce is recognizing 30 years of service to our community.

Executive Director Deborah Barker tells Dock News during the 30 years, they’ve provided support and counselling for thousands of persons with dementia and for their caregivers.

“We have played, and we continue to play a vital role in the lives of the growing numbers of individuals we support.”

Each year, 25,000 Canadians hear the words, ‘you have dementia.’ But dementia is more than just numbers. Friends, families and members of our communities all experience the personal and social impact of dementia.

For our health-care system and economy this means higher demand for services and soaring costs.

It’s not just their disease. It’s ours too.

“That’s why the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce is pleased to join Alzheimer Societies across Canada in asking Canadians to be #InItForAlz and support the programs and services that are offered to affected individuals, their families and their caregivers,” Barker said.

Through this campaign, the Alzheimer Society also hopes to change the conversation about a disease that continues to be shrouded in silence.

Dementia doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone. It’s one of the fastest-growing diseases of our time, but still has no cure or effective treatments. It can only be beat if everyone takes action.

The gratitude expressed by our clients is a reflection of the profound effect that providing hope, support and relief has for them.

The difficult news is that the number of people affected is growing at such a significant rate that it challenges our ability to keep up, Barker said.

Over the last two years, our active client list increased 24% to more than 1,100 people, and our education and training services
increased 36% to 2,600 persons.

“Last year we participated in a yearlong study funded through the Ontario Brain Institute. The results were significant,” Barker said. “Our clients reported we helped them increase their understanding of dementia, increased their skills and abilities to cope, assisted them in times of need and helped them access other resources in the community.

“We need to continue to raise awareness and understanding to alleviate the stigma of the disease,” she said. “And we need to encourage those affected to seek early diagnosis and support in order to maintain the highest quality of life possible through the course of the disease.”

Right now, an estimated 564,000 Canadians are living with dementia.

In 15 years, this figure will increase by 66%, to 937,000.

In Grey-Bruce there are 4,000 with a diagnosis of dementia and this number will rise to
more than 6,200 in 15 years.

Dementia doesn’t define a person. They’re still the same individual as they were before their diagnos

WEBSITE: http://www.alzheimer.ca/greybruce