Walk For Memories dedicated to John Paula

The 2011 Investors Group Walk for Memories in support of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in Barriere will be on Sunday, January 30. 

John Paula

The 2011 Investors Group Walk for Memories in support of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in Barriere will be on Sunday, January 30. 

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 2011 Walk For Memories in Barriere will be dedicated to John Paula, his wife Pat, and daughters Cheryl and Christie.

John moved to the North Thompson Valley with his family in 1972.  Community involvement was important to John.  He was an active member and sometimes leader of a number of organizations, including: the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, the Little Fort Recreation Society, and he helped found the B.C. Percheron Association.  He also brought the first draft horse classes to the Barriere Fall Fair and Rodeo Association, drove his own teams in the Barriere Fall Fair Parade carrying the Fall Fair Queen and Princesses, and gave hay rides at the Fair.

After signs of cognitive impairment became very clear to John’s family and friends, he was finally diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  This was devastating to his family, but he never seemed to know anything was amiss. 

His wife, Pat, contacted the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in Kamloops for information, insight, and emotional support.  Pat says all were given compassionately and quickly.  This information and support helped her provide compassionate care to John at home, and to survive the effects of the rapid changes of his disease. 

The Society proved a great resource throughout the 10 years of John’s and Pat’s lives after the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.  John passed away on March 29, 2010.

John’s memory of his family and friends faded and was lost many years ago; but his family and friends will always remember him as a proud man, a good neighbour, a trusted friend, and a kind heart with an adventurous spirit, who shared life and laughter with all of us.

Some facts to know about this disease – every five minutes a Canadian is being told that they have Alzheimer’s disease, 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.

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.

There are some practical lessons that can help one cope with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

For instance, Pat made business cards that introduced herself and her husband and stated: “My husband John has Alzheimer’s disease. Thank you for being patient.”  These were very effective.

Often, one of the symptoms to manifest itself is a fear of water, which can make bathing very difficult.  Baths are generally easier to manage than showers, or, for people who are very resistant, consider washing a body part each day rather than the whole body every second or third day.

Memory loss is a distressing part of dementia, not only for the person with the disease, but also for the caregiver and relatives.  The brain damage caused by dementia interferes with remembering recent events, finding objects, recalling names and faces, and communicating successfully.  Some ways to combat this are to label cupboards, drawers and doors; post reminders throughout the house to prompt the person in their daily routine; and have them carry an identity card in their pocket at all times that states their name, address and emergency contact numbers.

The 2011 Investors Group Walk for Memories in support of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in Barriere will be on Sunday, January 30.  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.

Investors Group Walk for Memories pledge sheets, and more information, can be accessed by calling Liz Gilbertson at 250-672-9337.

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