Welcome to Dementia Connections, a website and magazine that aims to connect people with dementia, their families, health-care workers and anybody interested in learning more about dementia to information and resources about how to live well with dementia.
My inspiration for Dementia Connections is personal as my father has vascular dementia. It doesn’t look like he is aware of what is going on around him, but in fact, he likes to watch golf, tennis and hockey, listen to Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond, go outside for a daily walk and kick a ball around. His face lights up when one of his grandkids visits.
When my father was diagnosed we had no idea how much it would impact the entire family, especially my mother. Dementia is emotionally draining and physically exhausting for spouses and family caregivers, and we didn’t always know where to go for help. Witnessing my father struggle as he slowly lost the ability to perform simple tasks was heartbreaking.
More than 13,000 people in Calgary have a dementia diagnosis and those numbers are increasing rapidly. Families are in crisis because they are often unprepared and unable to cope with dementia. My goal is to help other families avoid the unbelievable stress that my family has experienced by providing information and resources that will help them better adjust to life with dementia. And with the recent passing of Bill C-322, which means the federal government is legally committed to take action on dementia and will begin implementing a national strategy, now is the time to bring the conversation about dementia into the spotlight.
In Calgary, there are several organizations working hard to support people with dementia and their families so they can live the best lives possible. In this issue we learn more about some of them, including the Alzheimer Society of Calgary and the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Nursing program. Education and easy access to information are the first steps toward decreasing fear and stigma and encouraging people with dementia to participate fully in life.
Please let us know if we were able to help you — we welcome your input.