Vibrant Communities In Focus
Image Credit: Cathie Coward
[Alzheimer Society of Ontario]
It is rare to find a family untouched by Alzheimer’s disease. In Ontario, more than 160,000 people live with dementia. By 2031, the number will more than double. Step back from the numbers and you see the families.
Barbara Wallis visits her father, Hugh Gale, at a nursing home in Lucknow, Ontario. Alzheimer’s disease has robbed the electrical engineer of his memories and his speech. But play a song and there is a sense of joy, and perhaps recognition of a favourite hymn or melody. “He will always be my father. Our visits mean a lot to him, I know it. It may not register that I’m his daughter now, but when I leave each day, I have great faith that he will remember us.”
The Alzheimer Society of Ontario believes no one should have to cope alone. A grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation helped build a network of thirty-nine chapters across the province. They offer families support services, respite care programs and up-to-date information about ongoing research and treatment. Madelyn Herschorn is the director of communications in Toronto.
“My grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease. She was my mentor and the rock of our family. She was so smart. In a lucid moment she told me, ‘The worst part about this is: I don’t even think.’ She is the reason I work here. I have a picture of her on my desk. It reminds me how huge the need is and how much work we have to do.”