Here to Help

These agencies offer support for people impacted by dementia in Calgary.

The good news: There are numerous resources in Calgary for people living with dementia, their care partners and their families.

The not-so-good: It can be daunting to navigate the many services and organizations offering everything from adult day programs to assistance connecting with government resources. Some organizations offer dementia-specific resources, while others have more generalized mandates to assist all seniors.

Understanding what each organization offers can help those looking to access education and resources make the most of what’s available.

Who: Alzheimer Society of Calgary

What: A go-to point of contact for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. This organization offers much-needed help navigating the system, along with workshops and public awareness sessions on topics including pre-diagnosis, caregiver strategies and brain health. Social workers provide emotional and practical support. A program called Club 36, contracted through Alberta Health Services, offers recreational activities such as art and music therapy for people with dementia and respite for caregivers. Many
services are offered at no cost.

Contact the Alzheimer Society directly at 403-290-0110, or ask your physician to initiate a First Link referral. alzheimercalgary.ca.

Who: Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association

What: Adult day support programs, including one day a week for people with dementia. The association also has an outreach department to help seniors apply for benefits and navigate available supports. A 10-week program called CARERS (Coaching, Advocacy, Respite, Education, Relationship and Simulation), using problem solving therapy, simulated patients and role play, is offered for family caregivers of people with dementia. Cost is $20 for 10 weeks, and snacks and care for loved ones with dementia during the 2.5-hour sessions are supplied.

Contact: 403-269-6122, cceca.ca

Who: Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society

What: Helps potentially at-risk seniors build and maintain quality of life through programs and services aimed at helping them live independently and without social isolation. Clients tend to be lower-income seniors age 65-plus who lack extensive family or friend support. Programs and services feature volunteers offering escorted transportation, friendly visiting, shopping companionship, support and other help. Community outreach workers are there to help navigate care services, financial benefits, housing, transportation and emergency assistance for crisis situations.

Contact: 403-266-6200; calgaryseniors.org

Who: carya

What: This non-profit organization provides services and programs for youth, families and older adults. Formerly known as Calgary Family Services, carya offers seniors social connections, counselling, art therapy and group programs focusing on healthy living along with in-home non-medical supports for vulnerable seniors to help them remain in their homes. These supports include community connections, light homemaking, laundry and help with access to information and referrals. Fees for in-home programs are calculated on a sliding-scale basis.

Contact: 403-269-9888; caryacalgary.ca

Who: Dementia Network Calgary

What: Made up of people from the public, private and non-profit sectors with an interest in dementia, the network aims to make Calgary “a supportive, innovative environment where people impacted by dementia can live life well.” Dementia Network Calgary has a number of initiatives underway targeting education and awareness, ways to support community living and effective educational strategies for those working in dementia care. The goal is a seamless integration of services. The network also connects communities through a calendar of events, a free newsletter and opportunities to participate in research.

Contact: dementianetworkcalgary.ca

Who: Jewish Family Service Calgary

What: The JFSC Older Adults Outreach team aims to prevent social isolation, alleviate poverty, manage and prevent crises, assist in healthy aging and retain independence for all aging adults across most of the city’s southwest and southeast. Intake is done through The Way In (see next page). Referrals and access to community services, case management and issue resolution, housing assistance, and emotional support are all part of the outreach team’s services. 

Contact: 403-SENIORS; thewayincalgary.ca; email css@jfsc.org

Who: Kerby Centre

What: A centre offering services, information and programming for older adults. Kerby Centre offers indirect support for people with dementia and their families, welcoming them and their caregivers into programming where appropriate, but it doesn’t have dementia-specific programming. Offerings include an adult day program, academic and art courses, day trips, travel events, a monthly movie, and workshops related to health, financial planning and issues-based topics.

Contact: 403-265-0661; kerbycentre.com

Who: The Way In

What: The Way In is a collaboration of four agencies (carya, Jewish Family Service Calgary, Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society and Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association). It’s a free service for those 65 and up and their families and friends, connecting them with service coordinators. The coordinators help with access to community supports, information and referrals, pension forms, benefits, transportation and housing, caregiver and volunteer support, elder abuse intervention and support, Commissioners for Oaths, assessment and case
management, and group activities and workshops. 

Contact: 403-SENIORS (403-736-4677); thewayincalgary.ca


Other Organizations Supporting Dementia Care & Cure

Alberta Continuing Care Association:

A recognized voice in continuing care in Alberta, the ACCA is a member-driven organization that represents a number of home care and support services. ab-cca.ca

Alzheimer Society of Alberta & NWT:

With a provincial office and seven regional centres across Alberta and the Northwest Territories, the Society offers support services for those with dementia and their care partners, builds partnerships with health professionals and the community, and advances research. alzheimer.ca/en/ab

Branch Out Foundation:

There are more than 600 neurological disorders that affect one in three Canadians. The Branch Out Foundation funds non-pharmalogical research projects to study and cure these disorders. branchoutfoundation.com

Brenda Strafford Foundation (BSF):

This charitable organization is involved in a number of projects that promote seniors health and wellness, and supports research at the University of Calgary. thebsf.ca

Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP):

With more than 300,00 members over the age of 50, CARP is a powerful national advocacy organization. Dementia is an area that affects much of its membership, so CARP is helping channel those voices to affect public policy. carp.ca

Caregivers Alberta:

This charity helps those in need of continuing care by supporting the caregivers who care for them with resources to tackle mental health and self-care issues. caregiversalberta.ca

Campus Alberta Neuroscience:

Alberta has three university centres for neuroscience: Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Edmonton’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute, and Lethbridge’s Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience. They joined forces in 2009, and now, 250 researchers work together to study dementia with the aim of helping Albertans with brain diseases. albertaneuro.ca

Early Onset Dementia Alberta Foundation (EODAF):

Early-onset dementia affects around 16,000 Canadians under the age of 65. EODA works to support and raise awareness, offering programs such as financial awareness clinics, as well as aiding in research. eodaf.com

Gordie Howe C.A.R.E.S.:

This nonprofit organization supports the delivery of evidence-based programs that benefit local people with dementia and caregivers, working toward a long-term goal of building a future Centre of Excellence for Dementia Care in Calgary. gordiehowecares.com

Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA):

HQCA gathers and analyzes information, monitors the health care system, and collaborates with Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, health professions, academia and other stakeholders to translate that knowledge into practical improvements to health-service quality and patient safety. hqca.ca

Institute for Continuing Care Education and Research (ICCER):

This organization consists of post-secondary institutions and continuing-care providers. Its focus lies in encouraging research, and in working to put that research into practice. iccer.ca

Translating Research into Elder Care (TREC):

This research program focuses on creating solutions for enhancing the quality of care provided to nursing home residents, supporting the work of front-line care providers and improving overall efficiency in services. trecresearch.ca  [ ]