January is Alzheimer awareness month in Canada
and during this month we encourage you to learn more about Dementia.
What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 60-80% of the dementia cases. Dementia is a more general term describing a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory.
Image source: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia
How Kits House is Bringing Alzheimers Awareness to the Community
About half a million people are living with dementia in Canada today, this is expected to double by 2030. People living with dementia can experience memory loss and confusion, which makes it hard for them to do daily tasks. Situations can become more frightening and confusing when in public and often times people don’t understand what is going on and judge them rather than helping them. This is why we need to create more awareness around dementia and get a better understanding of what people living with dementia experience in their day-to day lives. We need to listen to those living with dementia, understand what they need and how can we become more inclusive and supportive.
With that in mind and thanks to the preliminary work of the Westside Seniors Hub, Kits House is now working together with UBC to create more awareness around dementia in the community by launching a dementia awareness initiative. The intention is to gain insight on public perceptions and attitudes towards those living with dementia through dialogue, and apply those learnings through trainings. We are looking to work together with those with lived experiences by starting an advisory committee, train buddies to provide support during programs, as well as work with businesses in the community to brainstorm a more inclusive neighbourhood.
While Alzheimer’s awareness month stops at the end of January, the experiences of people living with dementia do not.
Let’s work together to create more awareness around dementia and move towards a more inclusive community.
How to Get Involved
1) Join the Dementia Friendly Community Advisory Committee
If you, or know someone who has lived experienced with dementia, we would love to hear from you and have you join our Dementia Friendly Advisory Committee. In working to make Kitsilano a Dementia Friendly community it is essential that we consult with people living with Dementia to learn how we can best support our community members who are experiencing mild to severe cognitive decline. The committee will meet two to three times per year, likely through Zoom. We ask that you reach out to your neighbours, your friends, or your family members living with Dementia to consider joining our committee. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the committee or in learning more about our initiative, please contact Ronja Flügge at email@example.com.
2) Become a Dementia Buddy
Kits House is facilitating a Dementia Buddy program which will train a number of volunteers to work specifically alongside our community members living with Dementia. The first step of our training process is a Zoom webinar hosted by the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia. Volunteers are invited to join the meeting to learn how to be a Dementia Buddy Volunteer. As a Dementia Buddy, you will be asked to attend programs with a community member living with Dementia so that our programs can become more inclusive. During the meeting volunteers will listen to a facilitator who will share ways to communicate best with someone living with Dementia, as well as how to best help someone in a confused state, and how to be a Dementia Buddy. If you have questions or would like to be included in the Zoom call, please contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Join the Action Committee
If you are a business on the West side, we would love to work with you to brainstorm and determine the best way to support those with dementia in the community and what a safe space at your location could look like. If you are interested in joining us or if you would like further information, please contact Ronja at email@example.com.