Holiday 2019

A special thank you to our valued donors

Thanks so much for your support!

Pauline Tardif, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada

As another year comes to a close, I’m so proud of all we’ve achieved and thankful for the support of donors like you. It’s your generosity that ensures we can continue making a real difference for families bravely facing Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

I hope you enjoy reading the stories in this newsletter. Of special note is the research on “dementia dogs,” which support people living with mild to moderate dementia in their daily routine.

And don’t miss our holiday tips for visiting someone with dementia that can help ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable visit for everyone.

Happy Holidays,

Pauline T.

Living well spotlight: Darce Fardy

When Darce Fardy and his wife, Dorothea, discovered he had Alzheimer’s disease, she told him, “You’re not ashamed you have arthritis. Why would you be ashamed you have Alzheimer’s?”

It was exactly what the long-time CBC journalist, now 86, needed to face his new challenge—and it inspired Darce to contact his local Halifax newspaper and begin writing a column about his experiences with dementia.

Too often, he says, stigma isolates people with Alzheimer’s. “It’s a pity, because there’s a great life after diagnosis,” he says. “I go to the gym regularly, we socialize a lot.”

Darce does acknowledge he’s not the average person battling dementia and there are still challenges—he doesn’t drive anymore, for instance, and he has had some falls. Nevertheless, he remains resilient.

“My advice for those with dementia is to contact the Alzheimer Society and meet the staff and volunteers,” Darce adds. “They’re so supportive.”

Innovative research: Dementia Dogs

Man’s best friend, of course, has long brought joy and comfort to so many of us. Now, with funding from the Alzheimer Society Research Program, Dr. Claude Vincent at the University of Laval is leading the first Canadian study to look at whether people with dementia can benefit from the full-time support of a dog.

Dr. Vincent and her team are investigating the impact of both regular companion dogs and certified assistance dogs, known as “dementia dogs.” These dogs are trained to provide cues and companionship and can help encourage physical activity, improve wayfinding, and enhance well-being and connection. Successful pilot programs show great promise and have already brought relief and aid to families in Scotland and Australia. Dr. Vincent’s research will enhance understanding of the benefits for people with dementia and will inform the development of in-home support programs.

Young or old, Alzheimer's affects us all

Jake, a grade 5 student, wrote to us recently about a special research project he did at school. Jake designed a poster to teach his class about Alzheimer’s disease and the important work done by the Alzheimer Society.

Jake’s grandfather recently passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, so he wanted to learn more about it and share the information with his teacher and classmates.

“I learned so many sad facts,” Jake said. “Keep up the great work and I hope we find a cure.”

For tips on speaking to kids about dementia, visit

An idyllic village designed with dementia in mind

Quaint cottages. Flower gardens. A local spa, salon and café. Surrounded by tall trees and a picturesque creek. It sounds like an idyllic village setting tucked away from today’s busy city life. But this new community in Langley, BC, is designed especially for people living with dementia.

Inspired by a successful model in the Netherlands, this village attempts to balance safety and autonomy and replace clinical surroundings with something friendlier and more familiar.

In spite of its thoughtful design, the village is not without its criticisms. Rates start at over $7,000 a month, making it cost-prohibitive for most, and some say the model sends the wrong message about segregating people living with dementia.

While design is important, the Alzheimer Society encourages families to also evaluate other factors when selecting a residence for a person with dementia—including whether the person will receive individualized, person-centred care that makes them feel safe, comfortable and cared for.

For more information, please contact your local Alzheimer Society.

Monthly Donor Corner: Why I give

Richard's mom, Natalie, with her granddaughter, Katelyn

“My mom lost everything that mattered to her…her memories. Alzheimer’s is the cruelest disease. She never got to say her final words or express her final wishes—she just floated away without saying goodbye. I pay tribute to my mom with my monthly gift in the hope that no other family has to go through what I did. We need to find a cure.”— Richard L.

To join Richard and become a monthly donor, use our secure online form or contact Dana Lecours at 1-800-616-8816 ext. 2951.

Visiting someone with dementia over the holidays?

As the song goes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year—but with gift buying, party planning and visits to and from family and friends, it can be stressful, too. For people living with dementia in particular, the large gatherings, fast pace and loud noise can feel overwhelming.

Here are three ways to make holiday visits more comfortable and enjoyable for someone living with dementia:

  1. CHOOSE A CONVENIENT TIME — Late day or evening gatherings can be tiring for someone with dementia. Consider visiting in the morning or midday when they’re feeling more rested.
  2. PLAN FOR SMALLER, PERSONAL INTERACTIONS — Try staggering visits with other relatives to ensure your family member with dementia isn’t overwhelmed. This is especially important for people in the later stages of the disease.
  3. BRING A PET ALONG — Pets can provide comfort, joy and a connection for people with dementia. If the person lives in a long-term care home, be sure to check the rules first.

For more holiday tips, visit

The importance of Powers of Attorney

As we live our day-to-day lives, we sometimes overlook the planning that we should be doing to help protect ourselves, our wishes, our assets and the people we care for. Though it may not be pleasant to think about, making plans now to ensure you are protected in the event of future incapacity is smart planning and can provide much-needed peace of mind.

Part of that planning includes creating Powers of Attorney—documents that authorize someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable.

Ensure that your wishes for personal care will be met in the event of incapacity by documenting them and appointing someone you trust.

Finally, keep talking with close friends and family members so they know of any changes in your wishes. Make sure they’re aware of what you value and how you define your quality of life.

For more information about legal and financial planning, visit

RBC Wealth Management Royal Trust is a proud partner of the Alzheimer Society of Canada Legacy Giving initiatives.