Beat Alzheimer’s by taking action

Sunday, January 15, 2017

January is Alzheimer Awareness Month and we are all connected to people who are trying to find their way with this disease, and we must all act now to end dementia.

Each year, 25,000 Canadians hear the words, ‘You have dementia.’

But dementia is more than just numbers. It is our friends, families and members of our communities that are experiencing the personal and social impact of dementia. For our health-care system and economy this means higher demand for services and soaring costs.

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. Dementia can last between eight and 10 years, or even longer. Currently, there are 564,000 Canadians living with a dementia, which will increase 66 per cent to 937,000 by 2031. Your risk of developing dementia is 45 per cent greater if you smoke.

We have a unique challenge in Niagara, due to the fact that we have one of the highest percentages of seniors per capita in Canada and we lack the available geriatric resources compared to other communities. Currently, there are more than 9,855 people in the region who are experiencing a progressive dementia.

Dementia doesn’t define a person. They are still the same individual as they were before their diagnosis and can continue doing the things they and love and remain active in their communities with the right help and support. That is why it is so important to connect with Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region’s First Link Program by simply calling 905-687-3914.

Positive attitudes and engagement of people with dementia in activities that build on their strengths and life history will foster their self-worth, maintain their identity and prolong their independence. Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region’s mission is to advocate with and for people with dementia and their care partners, and provide access to a diverse range of appropriate resources and supports. By providing education, personalized in-home support services and wellness programs, families can better understand dementia, navigate the health system and access the resources they need when they need them.

The Alzheimer society offers many programs and educational opportunities across the region.

Brain Wave Cafes are offered twice a month in Niagara Falls, Thorold, Grimsby, St. Catharines and Welland. They provide an informal setting for individuals concerned about cognitive changes and dementia to learn about brain health and dementia, meet and socialize with others and become familiar with community resources.

Another popular program is Minds In Motion, a physical activity and brain simulation program that runs for two hours a week for an eight-week session at the YMCA in St. Catharines and Welland.

Caregiver support groups and educational sessions are also offered monthly. Visit for details.

Dementia can only be beat if everyone takes action. Get involved.

— Teena Kindt is CEO of Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region

Join the Walk for Alzheimer’s

Sunday, Jan, 29, inside Brock University – Ian Beddis Gym

Registration at 9:30 a.m. Walk starts at 11 a.m.

Collect pledges to win top prizes and a chance on a 48-inch TV.

Visit for details and registration.

Something for all ages:

  • Healthy brain strategies — walk route
  • Health fair in gymnasium
  • Therapy dogs
  • Star Wars characters
  • Fluffy the Clown
  • Live entertainment
  • Art display
  • Raffles and much more

Get involved

Show your support for a funded Ontario Dementia Strategy — let Minister Hopkins know by simply registering your name and email at

Become a Dementia Friend — register and learn more about what it is like to live with dementia and what simple actions that you can do to help people with dementia live well;

Volunteer or donate to Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region.

Public Forum – “What is dementia?”

Jan. 17

10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Seasons Retirement Home, 163 First Ave., Welland

Jan. 20

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

MacBain Community Centre, 7150 Montrose Rd., Niagara Falls

Jan. 23

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Royal Henley Retirement, 582 Ontario St., St. Catharines

Visit or call 905-687-3914.

Source: St. Catharines Standard