Summer 2019

Wonderful news from Pauline

Pauline Tardif, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada

In March, the federal government announced $50 million in funding for Canada’s first national dementia strategy.

The Alzheimer Society has long advocated for a fully-funded and comprehensive strategy so that Canadian families can live as best as possible with dementia, from diagnosis to end of life. This budget investment is a significant first step.

Donor support for our advocacy efforts contributed to this milestone.

The strategy itself will be announced this summer and I look forward to sharing details with you in a future newsletter.

- Pauline T.

Education and awareness are the key to understanding

“I reached out for support and found the Alzheimer Society.”

That’s how Carol Mitchell describes the beginning of the relationship with her local Society.

She and her husband, Joe, have been together for more than 50 years. They have four children, six grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Joe lives with Lewy body dementia. Looking back, Carol admits she didn’t realize Joe had dementia. She thought he was unmotivated or no longer happy in their marriage.

“He’d say things like, ‘Don’t hire someone to cut the grass. I love cutting the grass.’ Then he wouldn’t cut the grass. It seemed like he was trying to upset me. Little did I know that starting the lawnmower was becoming increasingly challenging for him.”

After Joe was diagnosed, the couple felt overwhelmed and depressed. Carol says the Alzheimer Society has provided resources that help her be a better caregiver for her husband. “Education and awareness are the key to understanding dementia,” Carol explains.

For more information about programs and support services near you, visit or call 1-800-616-8816.

From our "Mail Bag"

Words of inspiration from our supporters:

“I encourage you to have hope. They are making great strides in Alzheimer’s research. Don’t give up!”

“I understand the struggle. My mother had dementia and I took care of her for 10 years. She always felt our love despite the memory loss.”

“I won’t forget the effects of this disease. Thank you to the Alzheimer Society, who helped me through this disease that took my mother’s life.”

Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand:

Lisa Raitt, Member of Parliament for Milton

My husband, Bruce Wood, was diagnosed with dementia at 56. Here’s what we want you to know:

First, we still enjoy and make the most out of our life. We do a lot together, including educating people about dementia and working to eradicate the stigma.

Second, Bruce wants you to know that more money needs to be invested into finding a cure. Progress can be made if the funding is significant and reliable.

Finally, dementia is an isolating experience. Many families are lonely and finding a support group is challenging, especially if you live in a rural area.

What can you do? Have patience, learn to recognize the signs of dementia, be a friend to those you know who have it—and donate to the cause.

Donor dollars at work: Boomers Club

Every week, the Boomers Club comes together to share laughter, music and conversation.

The Boomers Club was recently created in response to the growing demand of support for people living with young onset dementia in Toronto. This program offers age-appropriate programming with a focus on brain-healthy activities.

To meet the unique needs of people living with young onset dementia, the Alzheimer Society partnered with the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities to launch a Young Onset Dementia Adult Day Program. This initiative is modeled after the Boomer philosophy of socialization and recreation while providing respite for caregivers.

With support from our generous donors, similar Boomer-focused programs are rolling out in other parts of the country.

For information about similar programs near you, visit or call 1-800-616-8816.

My dementia caregiver journey

by Mildred Lynn McDonald

After reading the stories of people living with dementia and their caregivers on our website, Mildred Lynn McDonald was inspired to share her experiences as a caregiver and share a few lessons she learned along the way.

Here are the life-affirming “knowings” I’ve gained as a caregiver:

  1. Every dementia journey is different. At first, I was desperate to understand the timeframe and prognosis. Over time, I’ve cultivated a “let’s wait and see” mindset.
  2. Self-care is a necessity. Pace yourself for a marathon rather than a sprint.
  3. There is no dementia playbook. Family expectations can be tricky. Help as you can. My mantra is “Everyone according to their conscience.”
  4. Create a sense of community and belonging. Encourage people to visit so your loved one feels loved, connected and relevant.
  5. Support, support, support. As your first step, contact your local Alzheimer Society.
  6. Inhibitions begone! There’s nothing like singing and laughing with a loved one diagnosed with dementia. Live in the moment and focus on what’s important.

Visit to learn more about Mildred’s story and read other inspiring stories.

Monthly Donor Corner: "Why I give"

I have lost many loved ones to Alzheimer’s, like my grandmother and both my in-laws. What inspired me to become a monthly donor was losing my father.

Dad was diagnosed in his mid-50s and passed away December 2016. Mom took care of him at home for six years until her own health was affected by the high demands. At that point, my father was well enough to give Mom the gift of signing himself into a long-term facility. Dad kept a positive attitude and continued to do some of his favourite activities such as praying, singing and reading (looking at pictures).

This journey with my father has taught me so many life lessons. His love, kindness, strength and courage carried me through those challenging years.

I joined the monthly giving program to honour Dad’s life and special qualities. You can honour someone you love by becoming a monthly donor.

-Nicole Gagne

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

How are research projects selected for funding by the Alzheimer Society?

This past February, researchers from all over Canada gathered in Toronto to participate in the Alzheimer Society’s annual Peer Review Panel meetings. These face-to-face meetings are part of the Alzheimer Society’s rigorous process for evaluating and funding the most deserving research projects in the country.

During the meetings, researchers discuss and evaluate the most promising applications, giving a score to each project based on the criteria of the Alzheimer Society Research Program. The projects are divided into the biomedical and the quality of life streams and researchers are invited to participate in the appropriate panel based on their area of expertise. Citizen reviewers, who are people living with dementia or caregivers, also participate.

After several hours of face to face deliberations, the projects with the highest scores are recommended for funding and the list of successful applications is announced later in the spring.

To learn more about how we fund research and read about some of the exciting projects underway, visit

Dementia and estate planning

Planning for the future is important, especially if you or someone you know has dementia.

Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning equates to having a will. In reality, an estate plan should include much more.

A comprehensive estate plan makes it easier for the family and gives you peace of mind that your wishes for health care, personal care and finances will be respected.

Speak with an estate specialist about how to:

  • appoint substitute decision-makers or proxies to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are incapable (power of attorney)
  • make an advance directive or “living will” that details your desires around medical treatment
  • revisit and revise your estate plan regularly

Please note that laws and the legal terms vary from province to province. For more information, contact your local Alzheimer Society or visit Speaking with a lawyer is also helpful.

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