The 2012 Investors Group Walk for Memories in support of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in Barriere will be on Sunday, January 29. Registration will be at the Senior’s Hall with the doors opening at 10 a.m. There will be a short warm-up with the walk starting at 11 a.m. There will be both a short route and a long route, so that all can participate. Those unable to do the walk are still invited to join in the fun and come with their friends for the lunch and door prizes. There will also be three fantastic items raffled off at the event, so be sure to bring a few toonies to purchase raffle tickets.
Every year the Alzheimer Society of B.C. chooses a local individual or family that has been touched by this disease to be especially honoured in each community’s Walk. The 2012 Walk in Barriere is dedicated to Mackenzie (Mac) Livingstone and his family.
Mac who was born in Little Fort, was officially diagnosed with Alzheimers in early 2002, although there were signs noticed by his family that suggested he may have had the disease prior to this. His wife, Doreen, became his principal caregiver as this disease significantly changed their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren. With the support of the Alzheimer Society of B.C., Doreen was able to provide care for him at home. “The information, support and counseling available from the Society allows caregivers to cope with issues as they develop and the disease progresses,” she explained.
“The memories become so important,” stated Donna Fennell, one of Mac’s daughters. “I’d never know from one visit to the next how much he would remember, or if he would remember me at all. Luckily, dad did remember mom right up to the end, but then as his caregiver she was with him every day and I’m sure that helped. The Alzheimer Society was a great help; because of their efforts, so many more people are aware of this disease and how it affects families. Their website is great and contains a lot of information for those wanting to know more.”
Some facts to know about this disease – every five minutes a Canadian is being told that they have Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, more than 500,000 people are living with dementia in Canada, and this figure is set to double within one generation. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. provides support services to British Columbians at no cost.
As you age, some forgetting is natural and inevitable. At what point should you consider the occasional memory lapse to be something more serious? To help you know what warning signs to look for, the Alzheimer Society has developed the following list of 10 warning signs:
1. Memory loss that affects day-to-day function – It’s normal to occasionally forget appointments or a friend’s phone number and remember them later. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget things more often and not remember them later, especially things that have happened more recently.
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks – Busy people can be so distracted that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them at the end of a meal. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble with tasks that have been familiar to them all their lives, such as preparing a meal.
3. Problems with language – Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget simple words or substitute words, making their sentences difficult to understand.
4. Disorientation of time and place – It’s normal to forget the day of the week or your destination – for a moment. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing how they got there or how to get home.
5. Poor or decreased judgment – People may sometimes put off going to a doctor if they have an infection, but eventually seek medical attention. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may have decreased judgment, for example not recognizing a medical problem that needs attention or wearing heavy clothing on a hot day.
6. Problems with abstract thinking – Sometimes, people may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, such as balancing a cheque book. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have significant difficulties with such tasks, for example not recognizing what the numbers in the cheque book mean.
7. Misplacing things – Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
8. Changes in mood and behaviour – Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease can exhibit varied mood swings – from calm to tears to anger – for no apparent reason.
9. Changes in personality – People’s personalities can change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can become confused, suspicious or withdrawn. Changes may also include apathy, fearfulness or acting out of character.
10. Loss of initiative – It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, and require cues and prompting to become involved.
Funds raised in the Investors Group Walk for Memories help enable the Society to expand their programs and grow in their ability to provide support to families on the dementia journey, and to prepare to face the increasing prevalence of dementia in our province. The funds also go towards research for the causes and the cure.
To get Investors Group Walk for Memories pledge sheets or for more information call Liz at 250-672-9337.