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Volume 2 Issue 2

Christmas Memories When Heather Rideout thinks of Christmas, like most of us, she pictures memories of her family. One of two girls, Heather’s small, close-knit family means the world to her and Christmas is a time to enjoy each other’s company. Every year she anticipates celebrating the holidays. But not this year. Heather’s mom Dorothy started to have issues with her memory in 2005. She began to ask for help with finances of the home, had trouble remembering how to play her favorite card games and became disinterested in her hobbies. Dorothy was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in November 2007. Without hesitation, Heather and her Dad became the primary caregivers for Dorothy, giving her constant care around the clock. The family contacted the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia to learn more on how to care for Dorothy and received an information package from the Programs and Services department. “The information not only taught us more about the disease but helped us to plan for the future,” Heather says. “The brochures explained the specific stages of Alzheimer’s disease so we had an idea of what to expect next.” Heather and her family came together to keep Dorothy home as long as possible. “It was devastating watching her live through the stages of

this disease. My mom lost a little bit of herself everyday and eventually Alzheimer’s disease transformed her so we couldn’t even get a hug or an ‘I love you.’ No family should have to experience that. The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia needs more funding for research and for the programs and services they provide to families like mine.” Dorothy passed away on February 4, 2010 at age 78 and Heather misses her every single day. “My Mom was a beautiful person and the rock of our family. We will miss her so much this Christmas, but at least we know she’s not suffering anymore.” Heather is a recently retired teacher from Nova Scotia Community College and a new volunteer for the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia. When asked what her favorite Christmas memory is, Heather replied, “I’ll always remember the smell of turkey cooking in the oven and the old country rose china set on the table at my Mom and Dad’s house on Christmas Eve. My mom was the coordinator of Christmas and did all of the shopping, wrapping, cooking and decorating. She loved to get into the Christmas spirit, making it special for all of us.”

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than the individual, it affects the entire family. Today there are thousands of families living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias in Nova Scotia. You can help give hope to a family like Heather’s by making a donation to the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia this holiday season. Because every family deserves more time together, to create memories. To make a donation to the Alzheimer Society’s festive campaign, please fill out the donation form enclosed, call 902 422-7961 or visit

21st Annual Provincial Conference Thank you to the over 300 people who attended our Provincial Conference and Family Night at the Holiday Inn in Dartmouth on October 18th and 19th. Rising Tide: Navigating the Journey provided two days of excellent presentations that were informative, practical, motivating and relevant whether we provide care in our homes, community or care facilities. While the topics were diverse in scope, the underlying message of person centered care permeated the presentations. Keynote speaker, Dr Sultan Darvesh

explained the complexities of making accurate early diagnosis and showed how differing diagnosis are identified through imaging technology. Sarah Kreiger Frost tackled Understanding and Responding to Behaviors with great insight and practical tips. Nova Scotian artist, Rose Adams, challenged us to see dementia through an artistic lens. A panel explored how to work effectively with families, and author Meg Federico ended the conference by speaking with humour and compassion about her experince providing long distance care for her mother and step father. In addition to the presentations, people had opportunity to visit exhibits, pick up resources and network with their colleagues from across the province. There were familiar and new faces in attendance and it was a wonderful chance to come together to share and celebrate initiatives and practices that make a difference in the lives of people with dementia.

Family Caregiver Education Series This spring, with the financial support of Pfizer Ltd,. we provided a Family Education Series Facilitator binder to community partners across the province. The binder provides all the tools needed to promote, manage and deliver this six part education series. The series is targeted to caregivers of a person recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Each week a different topic is covered including an overview of dementia, planning for the future, day to day care, care

for the caregiver, responding to changing care needs and tough issues. All the content for the program has been developed along with the weekly PowerPoint presentations and handouts.

other locations on board for the new year. This project is helping us extend our reach and ensure Nova Scotians have accessible, timely education available to them in their communities.

Family members completing the series report developing a good understanding of the disease, and learning what to expect and where to seek help when they need it.

If you are an experienced facilitator and interested in learning more about delivering the education in your community, please call us at 1-800-611-6345.

This fall, community partners in Halifax, Dartmouth, Truro and Nakile successfully delivered the series, with

Digby Project The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia recently received a grant from the Alzheimer Society of Canada and Pfizer Canada to pilot a program in Digby that helps link families to the Society shortly after diagnosis. Based on the First Link™ program offered in Ontario and other parts of Canada, health care professionals are encouraged to refer their clients directly to the Alzheimer Society. Upon referral, we provide ongoing support and education that fits the needs of each family, and we are committed to providing this support throughout their journey.

To date, we have met with key referral partners in the area including family doctors, nurse practioners, social workers, continuing care assessors, pharmacists, home support and long term care staff. We also delivered two public information sessions. This pilot program is providing us the opportunity to develop new partnerships within the community and will provide us with insights for rolling out First Link™ in other communities across Nova Scotia.

Dementia Network of Cape Breton Cape Breton continues to be extremely busy with many different educational activities taking place over the past few months. Members of the Dementia Network partnered with the Regional Council of Seniors and Pensioners and other community partners to develop and implement a seven-week education program for persons with a diagnosis of dementia and their caregivers/support persons. Topics being discussed include information on the disease, legal considerations and practical tips for maintaining independence and safety concerns. Numerous Seniors Clubs have requested educational sessions on “Heads Up for Healthy Brains” which have been conducted in various locations throughout the Island including Johnstown, Glace Bay and Neil’s Harbour.

Members of the Dementia Network met with Mr. John Malcom, CEO, Cape Breton District Health Authority and Mrs. Lindsay Peach, VP, Population Health and Primary Care in October, where they discussed the recommendations contained in a geriatric services review report. A strategic planning session will be held in November for members to discuss next steps in their goal to provide support, education and advocacy for persons with a diagnosis and their caregivers. There continue to be several monthly support meetings held in Cape Breton that provide opportunities for caregivers to meet and support each other. For meeting times and locations, please phone our office at 1-800-611-6345.

Thank You Bulk Barns ! Thank you to the Dartmouth Bulk Barn for raising over $5,000 during September’s Coffee Break! Bulk Barns across Nova Scotia raised over $14,000 for the Society. In November, Lloyd Brown, Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, presented the staff of the Dartmouth store with a plaque, congratulating them on raising the second highest amount in Canada.

Research Breakfast - Halifax The Halifax Research Breakfast will be held on Thursday, January 27,2011 at the Westin Nova Scotian. This year’s theme, The Changing Faces of Dementia…from Prevention to Treatment will focus on the importance of practicing a healthy lifestyle and profile local researchers in Nova Scotia.

Research Breakfast - Sydney Mark your calendar! The Sydney Research Breakfast will be held on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at the Membertou Trade & Convention Centre. This year’s theme, The Changing Faces of Dementia will focus on the impact Alzheimer’s disease has in our communities and what it means to be a caregiver for a person with dementia. To purchase tickets and for more details on both Breakfasts, please visit or call (902) 422-7961.

New Additions to the Handrahan Library The Majesty of Your Loving: A Couple’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s by Olivia Hoblitzelle (2008). “When Olivia and Hob received his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, the enormity of that prospect propelled them to make a pact with one another: they would navigate the illness - consciously and lovingly - to the end. [This] is their courageous story. Given this couple’s rich background in psychology, Buddhist meditation, and the wisdom traditions, they were able to handle the pain and promise of the illness with unusual thoughtfulness…. This book has a distinctively positive and uplifting tone, revealing that ultimately their experience was about growing in wisdom and deepening in love…. This memoir, unique for the its inclusive spiritual orientation, provides both hope and practical approaches to anyone dealing with mental loss or diminishment of any kind.” Palliative Care for Advanced Alzheimer’s and Dementia Edited by Gary A. Martin and Marwan N. Sabbagh (2010) “Designed to guide professional care[providers] in meeting the needs of patients and their families, the content provides insight into the philosophy, assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation measures involved in interdisciplinary palliative care. The guidelines and standards of care are based on contributions from nurses, physical therapists, social workers, dietitions, psychologists, family caregivers, and pastors. An exhibit at the end of every chapter clearly articulates the standards of care appropriate for all advanced dementia facilities and health care staff.” Mile-High Apple Pie by Laura Langston and Lindsey Gardiner (2004) “A wonderfully moving account of a girl’s relationship with her grandmother. My Grandma’s not the wrinkled kind; she’s the special kind instead. She wears trainers with yellow laces and she laughs very loud. She remembers lots of things like milk carts and special songs. But some days, her remembering is not so good… As time passes, this little girl grows up and her grandma grows older. Even if at times coming to terms with Grandma’s not remembering is difficult, there are still some very special things Grandma does remember – like how to make mile-high apple pie. And when Grandma suddenly can’t remember who Margaret is, Margaret reassures her: “I am Margaret. I am your remembering.”” Ages about 4-8. William Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas A reissue of the 1985 classic. “There was once a small boy called Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and what’s more he wasn’t very old, either. His house was next door to an old people’s home and he knew all the people who lived there…”Thus begins the tale of a small boy’s search for the lost memories of one of those old people Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper – his favourite because she has four names, too. Ages about 4-8.

The Society recieves no core government funding and relies totally on the support of the community. Should you wish to help make a difference in the lives of Nova Scotians impacted by Alzheimer’s, please contact us today to make a donation, or to find out about the many other ways through which you can help. Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia 6009 Quinpool Road, Suite 300, Halifax, NS B3K 5J7 (902) 422-7961 or 1-800-611-6345 (outside Metro)

In the Loop  

The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia's newsletter

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