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Living with dementia in spotlight this month

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Is it possible to live well with Alzheimer disease and still contribute to society in a meaningful way?

Rossana Tomashowski, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of Kenora/Rainy River Districts, says yes!

“We experience it every day from a person living the Alzheimer journey," she noted. "They volunteer by stuffing envelopes for dexterity, socializing with their peers, or doing physical activities like walking.”

Last September, a living document for the Canadian Charter of Rights for people with dementia was introduced (www.Ilivewithdementia.ca).

Most people do not know what Alzheimer's disease looks like to those living the dementia journey. As such, we need to educate and reach more people!

The “Dementia Experience” program will help you understand what it feels like to have Alzheimer. Your perception will be changed forever.

“I ensure all staff in our organization goes through the session and for a moment you know what it feels like,” said Tomashowski.

“Remember, it's only for 12 minutes [but] someone affected lives with this disease every single day,” she added.

“Simple tasks are very difficult to accomplish and overwhelming.”

As we ring in the New Year, we remember those we have lost during the past year and continue to strive by providing better care closer to home to those who need our services.

Reducing caregiver stress and providing respite for one-two hours at our Memory House Café is one way we can provide socialization through art and music therapy for those living with Alzheimer.

For Alzheimer Awareness Month (January), we have many activities you can get involved in throughout district, such as:

  • hosting a “Coffee Break” (kits are available at the local Alzheimer Society's office);
  • request an education session for groups, organizations, or businesses;
  • attend the annual “Forget Me Not” fundraiser dinner in Fort Frances, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2 at La Place Rendez-Vous (tickets available at Northwoods Gallery & Gifts); or
  • attending the Linda Johnson Memorial dinner in Rainy River on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Several district municipalities, including Fort Frances, Emo, Rainy River, Sioux Narrows, also proclaim January as Alzheimer Awareness Month.

The annual flag-raising ceremony in Fort Frances is scheduled this Friday (Jan. 11) at 11 a.m. at the Civic Centre.

“Drop by the office, make a donation, or see how you can get involved,” Tomashowski urged.

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