September is well underway, which means the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan is getting ready to celebrate Alzheimer’s Day on Sept. 21 with the launch of new support programming for this fall.
The Alzheimer Society offers a number of informational programs, sessions and services for those affected by the dementia-related disorder, and this fall’s calendar of events is being considered new, largely because of the new virtual format.
Things will kick off on Sept. 21 with the continuation of the Alzheimer Society’s First Steps Learning Series, for those who are a care partner of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The series will offer information about dementia and share coping strategies for caretakers.
Next, on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m., the Alzheimer’s Society will host an online public health forum with Dr. Paul Blackburn, a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia. The virtual event, called the Healthier Brain Forum, will focus on reducing the risk of dementia and discuss brain health and wellness.
The Minds in Motion program in Saskatoon and Regina will also be resuming in October, featuring an in-person version and an online version of the program.
Online support groups for caretakers, spouses and people living with dementia will also be back beginning in September, including the coffee and chat on Friday mornings, but proceedings will be available either virtually or by telephone rather than in person.
“COVID has really brought us the opportunity to extend our programs and services to more people, because we’re delivering them virtually,” said director of programs and services Joanne Michael. “[Last year] we supported over 3,000 people from 290 communities scattered around the province [and] what we’re hoping for this fall is we’ll be able to connect with more people in more communities that we haven’t been able to before.”
The Alzheimer Society is also working hard to organize its gala fundraiser on Oct. 15, which will be held as a live stream event online. This year’s event will feature a number of donated items in a silent auction and a raffle draw of a pair of diamond earrings from Victoria Jewelers.
All events and services from the organization are free to attend for the public, although many require attendees to register online beforehand. For those having trouble with the technology aspect, the organization is offering an expert’s help to get people connected in order to access the new services.
For the Alzheimer Society, it's important to recognize Alzheimer’s Month during September and let the public know that support is available.
“There is still a lot of stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, so Alzheimer’s Month is an opportunity for us to continue to share information about the disease, help reduce the stigma, and help the folks that we support to live well,” said Michael.
She encourages anyone struggling with Alzheimer’s or in need of someone to talk with to call the Society’s dementia helpline at 1 (877) 949-4141,
More information on the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada and it's upcoming programs can be found on their website.