Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.

LETTER: Thanks for Summerland support during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Never has it been more important to talk about the future for people living with the disease

Dear Editor:

At the end of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month 2021, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. thanks the people of Summerland for the role they play in helping to change the future for people living with dementia and their families across B.C.

While the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s vision is for a province where families on the dementia journey are welcomed, acknowledged and included – a truly dementia-friendly B.C. – the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on some of the issues facing families on the dementia journey, including social implications and the many challenges being experienced in long-term care.

Never has it been more important to not simply raise awareness of the disease but to talk about what we want the future to look like people living with the disease and how we’re going to get there.

READ ALSO: Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

READ ALSO: B.C. residents campaign to end Alzheimer’s stigma

Even under normal circumstances, the dementia journey can be incredibly isolating.

This remains a difficult time for caregivers of people living with dementia, including many who are supporting people living in long-term care and are unable to stay connected as they have in the past.

Making a commitment to finding ways to engaging with the people in your life who are living with the disease is an important part of a dementia-friendly future – but so is raising your voice and becoming an advocate for policies that reflect their needs.

Though Alzheimer’s Awareness Month ends with January, the work isn’t finished.

We hope Summerland residents will remain committed to changing the future.

One way we invite you to do this is by registering and fundraising for the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s.

Participants can raise funds to support Alzheimer Society of B.C. programs and service and walk their own way all throughout May to honour people in their lives who have been affected by dementia.

Then we will join together virtually on Sunday, May 30, to celebrate the difference we’ve made. To learn more, visit walkforalzheimers.ca.

It’s going to take a movement of people committed to making life better for Canadians affected by dementia.

Local volunteers play an invaluable role. By sharing our stories and publishing our letters, local media helps foster a better understanding of dementia’s impact on local families. Together, we are working towards our goal of a dementia-friendly province.

If your family is affected by Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, please call the First Link Dementia Helpline (1-800-936-6033) to learn about the disease or find out about support groups and other services available to Summerland residents.

Support is also available in Mandarin or Cantonese at 1-833-674-5007 and in Punjabi at 1-833-674-5003. Learn more about us at alzheimerbc.org.

Mary Beth Rutherford

support and education coordinator

South Okanagan Similkameen region

Alzheimer Society of B.C.

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