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WHAT’S ON!

FINDING DEMENTIA SUPPORT IN A CAFÉ AND CHOIR BURNABY SENIORS OUTREACH SOCIETY OFFERING PROGRAMS TO HELP PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH THE EFFECTS OF DEMENTIA By Gary Wilson

As someone who has experienced the effects of dementia in my own family, I know firsthand how devastating it can be, not only for the individual who is enduring it, but the family who love them. For some 12 years before her passing in 2017, we saw a steady decline in my mom’s memory and thinking, eventually affecting her social abilities, and then even her physical functions.

opportunities to meet together in a safe, nonjudgmental environment with skilled facilitators and volunteers. Currently taking place as a Virtual Café via Zoom, participants socialize with one another, engage with guest speakers and enjoy music provided by a Certified Music Therapist. The Café takes place on the second Thursday of each month from 1:00 to 2:30 pm.

It was painful in many ways, but one of the things I saw that brought a great joy to me as I saw her decline, was the effect that music had upon her. My mom was undoubtedly the least musical person in our family, but even when she no longer remembered our names, she still seemed to know all the songs of the past. So when I learned that here in Burnaby, there are programs focused on music to help other families suffering with dementia, I got excited. Over the past few years, people in our city who are struggling with dementia, along with their families, have been able to find some unique opportunities for support as they walk through this journey. In 2017, the City of Burnaby developed a Dementia Friendly Action Plan. With 2,800 people in the city living with dementia, the plan was to assist these individuals to stay active and maintain wellness during this difficult time in their lives. Burnaby Seniors Outreach Society, working with Music Therapy, helped to form two unique opportunities for people experiencing dementia and memory loss. In January of 2019, they established the Dementia Friendly Café. This monthly gathering provided

The participants truly enjoy their time, even in the Virtual Café! One family member commented, “You make them feel so warm, welcomed and included. I’m hoping that they continue as I can see how much they enjoy it. We were all singing the Na Na Goodbye part long after we turned off Zoom. Thanks for making us feel so valued in the group.”

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Profile for What's On! Burnaby

WHAT'S ON! BURNABY ... Print & Online Magazine - January-February/2021  

Local community magazine featuring events, entertainment, business and stories about local people ... all for the people of Burnaby, BC

WHAT'S ON! BURNABY ... Print & Online Magazine - January-February/2021  

Local community magazine featuring events, entertainment, business and stories about local people ... all for the people of Burnaby, BC

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