Fall 2018


Pauline Tardif, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada

As I reflect on 2018, I’m grateful to you for making this such a successful year.

You have been the beating heart of Alzheimer’s research, moving us closer to better treatments and, ultimately, a cure. You’ve also ensured compassionate support services for people living with dementia and their caregivers.

In addition to this important work, we’re proud to have launched the Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia, written by and for people living with dementia. You can read more about this exciting development below.

I hope this newsletter will remind you of the difference you are making each and every day. Thank you for your generosity!

Not giving up: My life with dementia

Myrna, a strong believer in “passionate advocacy”, shares her story.

For a long time, I hadn’t felt like myself. I couldn’t do bookkeeping anymore, and I was anxious. I saw my doctor and after some tests, he called me in and said, “You have frontotemporal dementia. Go home and get your affairs in order.”

I was in shock. On a particularly bad day, I looked up the Alzheimer Society and called them crying. With their support, I began my acceptance.

“Passionate advocacy” is my mantra. I tell everyone I meet that I have dementia. My language deficits, lack of filters, sleep disturbances and my inability to begin or complete everyday activities has an impact for me and those around me.

As a supporter of the Alzheimer Society, I believe that training should be compulsory for everyone working with people who have dementia. Also, appropriate care must be available, not just hospitalization. Overall, our healthcare system has to be prepared for the coming dementia tsunami. It’s time to take action.

I need your understanding, respect and support and so does everyone else living with dementia. Thank you for reading my story and contributing to this great cause.

Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia

Canadians living with dementia are entitled to the same human rights as every other Canadian. However, stigma and discrimination are huge barriers and often contravene these rights.

With your support, the Alzheimer Society is pleased to officially launch the first-ever Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia. This landmark Charter is the culmination of over a year’s work by the Society’s Advisory Group of people with dementia.

Visit alzheimer.ca/charter to read the seven explicit rights that empower self-advocacy and educate supporting organizations and care partners.

Monthly Donor Corner: "Why I give"

“My wife, Joan, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago. Today, she is in a care home. Outside funding beyond governments is critical for support programs and research—that’s why I’m a monthly donor. If you’d like to make a significant difference in the lives of people living with dementia, join me by giving monthly.” – George S.

To become a monthly donor, use our secure online form or contact Celine at 1-800-616-8816 ext. 2953.

Your donation makes a big impact

Our vision is to create a world without dementia by funding research to find a cure and improve quality of life for those affected. You play an important role in this work.

To learn more about how we use your gifts, contact Celine at donorserve@alzheimer.ca or call 1-800-616-8816 ext. 2953.

You can also read our Impact Report at alzheimer.ca/ImpactReport.

Thank you for your support.

Your dollars at work: Music Project

“Music penetrates the darkness and brings joy back into our lives.”

“Music penetrates the darkness and brings joy back into our lives. Thank you.” – Margi, whose husband Petko lives with dementia

Music can be a powerful source of joy and comfort for people with dementia and those around them. When words fail, music provides a way for the person with dementia to connect with others and engage with memories and emotions.

The Alzheimer Society Music Project reconnects people with the “soundtrack of their lives” by providing participants with personalized playlists on loaned MP3 players.

“The songs trigger precious memories and give us happy things to talk about”, says a family member whose mother recently joined the project.

As of August 2018, the Alzheimer Society has made this pilot project available free of charge to over 5,000 people in Ontario living with dementia. With your help, our goal is to expand across the country.

Meet the researchers: April Khademi

Currently, there is no effective treatment for dementia. One reason is that researchers have a hard time finding groups of patients with the same disease characteristics to participate in clinical trials.

As an Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator for the Image Analysis in Medicine Lab at Ryerson University, my research focuses on designing algorithms that extract insights from medical images. In my lab, we measure biomarkers (signs of disease) for large amounts of patient data to identify disease-related patterns.

How is this research valuable to you?

With the tools developed in my research lab, our goal is to automatically group together volunteers with the same disease and at the same stage. This would mean better clinical trials, ultimately leading to better treatments.

Thank you for supporting innovative research that is taking us closer to a cure.

We would love to hear your story!

We’re proud to share thoughts from donors about why they support the Alzheimer Society. If you’d like to tell us how dementia has affected your life and why you donate to this important cause, contact Dane Lecours at dlecours@alzheimer.ca.

“You do wonders for people with dementia.” - Francis

“I am so happy to help in making donations to the Alzheimer Society and to hear inspiring stories. I know all about this disease. My husband had Alzheimer’s for 14 years. He’s in the last stage of the disease now.” - L.

“My husband died from Alzheimer’s 24 years ago. At that time there was no help available. I’m happy to see that progress has been made.” - W.

Challenge yourself!

“I decided to be proactive about my health after my diagnosis. I took up archery because it requires a lot of focus and concentration. It helps with hand-eye coordination and keeps my mind sharp.” - Phyllis Fehr, living with young onset Alzheimer’s

Studies show that keeping your brain active can help reduce your risk of dementia.

Challenging your mind can be as simple as dialing a phone number with your less dominant hand or as complex as learning a new language.

Here are just a few brain-stimulating activities:

  • Play chess, memory games and word puzzles—you can start by solving a crossword puzzle on our website!
  • Immerse yourself in a new interest, like playing a musical instrument.
  • Read a book or see a movie and discuss it with a friend.
  • Pursue cultural activities like going to plays, museums and concerts.
  • Keep up old hobbies or take up a new one.