January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal condition that progressively compromises a person’s ability to think, feel, and act normally.
During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, organizers make it possible for people to discover and become more informed of the early onset signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The more people are aware of it, the more they can do to help individuals who are afflicted by this incurable disease.
Since 1985, the Alzheimer’s Society of York Region has offered top-notch adult DAY centre services for dementia.
Their Thornhill, Aurora, and Stouffville DAY Programs (York Alzheimer’s Day Centre) are an active part of the Alzheimer’s Society of York Region.
The Thornhill and Aurora DAY Programs are open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Stouffville DAY Program is open Monday to Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fees are $22 a day; this includes a hot lunch and snacks throughout the day, as well as a full day of social stimulation.
Those that would like to attend the DAY program are encouraged to connect with Home and Community Care and request a Care Coordinator. Patients will then be placed on the waitlist to join the program.
Project manager at AS York, Chantelle Morello, says: “Our program is for all people with all types of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s.”
The Thornhill, Aurora and Stouffville DAY Programs offer their clients two snacks in addition to a hot meal every day. They offer scheduled daily activities for their patients both inside and outside, such as music programs, mental stimulation, discussion groups, reminiscence programs, and gardening. Patients also participate in crafts and puzzles. These activities keep them active and stimulated.
“This program provides cognitive and social stimulation for individuals living with dementia,” states Jamie Cruz, public education coordinator of the Alzheimer’s Society of York Region. She says, “Knowing that their family is in a safe place gives the family the opportunity to proceed with their day with a peace of mind.”
When asked specifically about the DAY programs, she responds with care and passion.
“The DAY Program promotes respect, dignity, individual choices, maintaining strength, and abilities for all individuals that walk into the program.” Their goal is to always provide a safe, inclusive environment for everyone.
“Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disease with no cure,” Cruz says.
She sheds light on what AS York wants the local residents to understand.
“Alzheimer’s disease does not mean that a person is no longer able to do things for themselves; it does not mean that a person is not able to make their own choices.”
Additionally, Cruz adds, “We at the society believe in maintaining strengths and abilities to provide the best quality of life.”
She expresses this opinion with much fervour. Living with this disease does not mean your life should stop. With support from AS York, those with Alzheimer’s disease can continue to live their life to their fullest extent.
As January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the three program centres at the Alzheimer’s Society of York Region will continue to promote the importance of community involvement, support, education, and fundraising to continue to provide services for all those that need assistance and guidance. At AS York, they connect with other community agencies to find the best way to meet all the needs of those living with dementia and those at their side.
To spread awareness, AS York has provided a series of free, pre-recorded webinars to the public. These webinars are to educate others on the importance of keeping our community safe, to understand the progression of the disease and that AS York is here to provide support for all.
Visit: https://alzheimer.ca/york/en/take-action/webinars for more details on webinars.
Through their communications and marketing specialists, the community will also be informed through social media platforms, about safety precautions, particularly in the cold weather, which has a severe impact on individuals with Alzheimer’s.
Bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s is crucial.
“The amount being diagnosed is high; it is important to be aware of the disease in order to prevent it and to take the steps necessary when diagnosed,” Morello says, “It is a beneficial program for the clients and their families.”
For more information, visit: https://alzheimer.ca/york/en
Photo: York Alzheimer’s Day Centre programs provide cognitive and social stimulation for individuals living with dementia.
Story submitted by Eva Laforteza-Recto.