Groups offering Alzheimer’s workshops in northern Wellington County

For more than 2,400 people in the county living with dementia – as well as their family, friends and caregivers –  everyday life can be a trying and emotional ordeal.

And while the issue may always be at the forefront for some of those individuals, many are often hesitant to talk about the issue.

With that in mind, the Alzheimer Society of Guelph-Wellington is partnering with  the Seniors’ Centre for Ex­cellence in Mapleton to offer workshops in northern Well­ington County for anyone af­fected by the devastating disease.

“We want to raise the profile of the Alzheimer’s Society and ensure that rural seniors are aware of the services that it provides within their community,” said Helen Edwards, seniors health services coordinator with the Seniors’ Centre for Excellence.

The workshop series, which Edwards calls an “education road show,” will be visiting Drayton, Mount Forest, Clif­ford, Palmerston and Harriston.

Robin Smart, education coordinator with the local Alzheimer Society, said the workshops begin April 20 and are free for anyone wanting to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

“We hope this series will help people learn more about the issues of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and introduce them to services that are available in their communities to support those diagnosed or caregivers,” Smart said.

“The series might be of in­terest for those looking ahead in their lives and wanting to know the best ways to reduce the risk of developing a dementia, as well as for anyone who knows someone with Alz­heimer’s disease or a related dementia. If you are a caregiver for someone this would be of particular interest.”

There will be three sessions at each workshop location:

– Heads Up For Healthier Brains, including ideas to help reduce the risk of dementia or delay its progression;

– What Should I Know, an intro­duction to normal versus abnormal aging, an overview of the services offered by the Alzheimer Society, and a chance to expose myths about Alzheimer’s disease; and

– Care for the Caregivers, with advice on “how to support yourself, so you can support others” and how to recognize signs of caregiver stress and effectively cope with it.

Drayton will be the first community to host the workshops, on April 20 and 27 and May 4 in the board room on the lower level of the Mapleton Medical Clinic on Andrews Drive.

Clifford workshops will be held April 21 and 28 and May 5 at the United Church on the corner of William and Allan Streets.

Palmerston will host the education road show on May 1, 8 and 15 at the Evangelical Missionary Church on Prospect Street.

Harriston is up next, on May 22 and 29 and June 5 at the United Church on Young Street West. And Mount Forest workshops are scheduled for June 4, 11 and 18 at the Sau­geen Valley Nursing Centre on Dublin Street.

All workshops will run from from 2 to 3:30pm, and will include free refreshments and an opportunity for questions. Registration is requested, but not mandatory, by phone at 519-638-1000.

The truth about Alzheimer’s

Approximately 500,000 Can­adians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia – or one in 11 people over the age of 65.

Of the 500,000 people af­fected, more than 71,000 of them are under the age of 65, and approximately 50,000 of them are under the age of 60.

Women make up 72 per cent of Canadians with Alz­heimer’s disease.

Within just five years, an additional 250,000 Canadians could develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia .

Within a generation (25 years), the number living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia could reach between 1 million and 1.3 million.