Summer 2018

Pauline Tardif named co-chair of Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia

L-R: Maria Howard, CEO, Alzheimer Society of BC; Pauline Tardif, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada; The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Federal Minister of Health; and Wendy Schettler, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.

The Alzheimer Society of Canada is pleased to announce that our CEO, Pauline Tardif, has been named co-chair of the Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia. The Board will advise Federal Minister of Health, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, as the Government of Canada begins to develop a national dementia strategy.

“I’m extremely honoured and privileged to co-chair the Advisory Board and to engage Canadians with dementia, their families and their caregivers, as well as researchers, advocacy groups and health-care professionals in this important work. Through increased awareness and understanding, I’m determined to reduce stigma and correct misinformation surrounding dementia,” says Ms. Tardif.

The Society has diligently advocated for a national strategy for many years, calling for increased collaboration and innovation in research, more timely diagnosis and intervention, and enhanced care and community-based services.

Thank you to our supporters for making an important contribution to our advocacy efforts. This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Presenting ASANT Café

ASANT Café is the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories’ answer to online support services and awareness. The Café is a 24-hour resource for people living with dementia, care partners and those looking for general information.

Discussion groups enable individuals to connect and share friendly advice. Members have access to all areas of the community, such as the live meeting space—where presenters share knowledge, experiences and resources.

ASANT Café has influenced and inspired new and existing programs of this type in other provinces. To find a similar program in your area, please contact your local Alzheimer Society.

Your dollars at work: Advance Care Planning

Dr. Sussman is passionate about helping give a voice to people in the early stages of dementia, ideally within a year of diagnosis.

With funding from the Alzheimer Society Research Program, Dr. Tamara Sussman is investigating how to improve Advance Care Planning for people living with dementia.

Advance Care Planning is designed to help individuals communicate wishes for future care to family, legally-appointed decision makers and health providers. Unfortunately, these conversations don’t take place often enough due to discomfort with the subject and limited resources to support these important discussions.

Based out of McGill University, Dr. Sussman is exploring how workbooks, websites and other tools could be used by local Alzheimer Societies and other professionals to help those living with dementia express their preferences and plan ahead for future care.

Dr. Sussman says, “By encouraging these conversations much earlier on, you’re placing people at the centre of their care and giving them the opportunity to talk about these things while they are able to.”

The generosity of our donors is at the heart of research like Dr. Sussman’s. Thank you for donating to the Alzheimer Society and improving quality of life for everyone affected by dementia.

Sandra Britten: My story

I’m from Halifax, NS, where I worked as a chartered professional accountant. I was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia at age 54.

I would start cooking and then get distracted. Sometimes, I’d fall asleep and then wake up to my smoke alarm going off. Before moving into an assisted living residence, my daughter arranged for a home care worker to help me with household chores that I can no longer do myself, like making meals that I could freeze and then microwave.

Occasionally, I forget words and get lost in conversations. It’s hard because I’ve always been eloquent. Now, I try to keep my sense of humour about it and explain things as best as I can.

Because I don’t drive anymore, I walk as much as possible. If I get lost, the GPS on my phone is great. I also call my daughter and she uses her “locate me” app to help me get home.

My local Alzheimer Society is a real lifeline, so I gladly volunteer my time and share my story to raise awareness and funds. Thank you for your support!

Did you know?

Dementia caregivers experience depression at higher rates than all other caregivers. If the following symptoms occur on a regular basis, call your doctor or contact your local Alzheimer Society for help.

  1. Denial: “Everyone’s overreacting. Mom will get better.”
  2. Anger: “If he asks me that question once more, I’ll scream!”
  3. Withdrawing socially: “I don’t care about seeing my friends anymore.”
  4. Anxiety: “I’m worried about what will happen when I can’t provide care.”
  5. Depression: “I just don’t care. What’s wrong with me?”
  6. Exhaustion: “I don’t have the energy to do anything.”
  7. Sleeplessness: “I barely sleep and don’t feel rested.”
  8. Emotional reactions: “I cried when there was no milk left.”
  9. Unable to concentrate: “I used to do the whole crossword puzzle. Now I’m lucky if I can solve half of it.”
  10. Health problems: “I’ve had this cold for months and can’t shake it.”

Volunteer Profile: Louise Kovacs

Thanks to my mother, who set up a lunch program at my school, I understood the value of volunteering early on.

When Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I learned as much as I could about the disease. At my church in Mission, BC, a few people have dementia. To encourage them to socialize, my church group organizes inclusive activities and home visits.

This year, I’m more involved with the Alzheimer Society because I want to provide kindness and carry on the values Mom taught me.

Thank you to Louise and all our wonderful volunteers! If you’d like to volunteer, please call your local Alzheimer Society or visit

Improve your brain and heart health

There’s evidence that people who adopt a heart-healthy diet have a lower risk of developing dementia. Here are a few diet choices you can make to improve both heart and brain health:

  • Make plants the star of your plate. Overall, eat more plants than animals.
  • Dish up more fish. Ever heard that fish is a brain food? It turns out to be true! Check out our brain-healthy recipe for Baked Sun-Dried Tomato Cod below.
  • Go nuts for nuts. According to a 2015 study, nuts are a great part of a brain-healthy diet.
  • Curb “bad” cholesterol. Limit consumption of animal fats.
Brain-healthy Recipe

Baked Sun-Dried Tomato Cod

Make this delicious meal in just 30 minutes.


  • 1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 ½ cups chopped white mushrooms
  • ¼ cup white or regular balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing on cod
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) fresh or thawed cod fillets
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 8 fresh basil leaves chopped for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Put chopped tomatoes, shallots and mushrooms in mixing bowl. Add vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir.
  3. Place each fillet on its own 12” parchment paper sheet, brush fish with oil and cover with tomato mixture. Pull vertical side of parchment up to the centre and fold. Place each packet on another sheet of parchment and seal.
  4. Place packets on baking sheet. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of cod. Then flip over and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. (Fish should flake easily with fork.) Garnish with basil and serve with lemon wedges and crusty whole grain bread for dipping.

Alzheimer’s: A photographic journey

Artist Tony Luciani and his mother, Elia, recently donated 100 photographs to the Alzheimer Society of Grey Bruce. The series, ‘MAMMA, In the Meantime,’ depicts a heartfelt journey of a mother with dementia, through the lens of her photographer son.

The images have garnered international attention. Luciani describes the series as a visual diary that show the seriousness of dementia. He says, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spread the word about caregiving—connecting with a person who needs help and shouldn’t be shied away from. That’s the important thing.”

Alzheimer Society of Grey Bruce Executive Director Stephen Musehl says, “There is such a stigma and lack of awareness around Alzheimer’s and other dementias that we want to show the realities of these diseases. The photos show that life doesn’t end with a diagnosis and encourage people to ask for help when they need it.”

View the full series of images.

Watch Luciani’s TEDx talk titled “A Visual Diary: On dementia and caregiving.”

Monthly Donor Corner: 'Why I give'

Dinah and her granddaughters love singing together.

My dear wife, Dinah, has Alzheimer’s, so supporting the Alzheimer Society is very close to my heart.

Dinah and I are monthly donors because we know how important steady funding is to research—which I believe is grossly underfunded. Because music and art are creative, have a huge impact on quality of life and are not generally affected by Alzheimer’s, we’re also pleased to support these types of programs. Dinah loves to sing and create art and I hope even more people can benefit from tapping into their own creativity.

We must defeat Alzheimer’s and supporting the Alzheimer Society and research, along with lobbying all levels of government for more support, is critical.

Please sign up as a monthly donor today!

– John Emery

To become a monthly donor, visit or contact Dana Lecours at 1-800-616-8816 ext. 2951.