Dementia Connections

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DEM E N TIAinclusive

YOU’RE Welcome

Calgary’s inclusive offerings for people living with dementia continue to grow BY Shannon Cleary

Memory Lane Chorus The Youth Singers of Calgary (YSC) and JB Music Therapy have partnered to create Memory Lane Chorus, an innovative choral program for people living with dementia and their care partners, family members and friends. During weekly 90-minute sessions, participants sing, socialize, and engage in music memory activities and therapeutic drum circles with certified music therapists. Alida Lowe is the senior program, production and touring manager at YSC. She says the Memory Lane Chorus is tailored to participants’ abilities and strengths, creating a safe and confidence-building environment. Lowe says the program intends to include both


D E M E N T I A Connections SPRING 2019

new music and songs that hold special memories for its members. The chorus began its first run in January 2019, with the capacity for up to 25 individuals living with dementia and 25 care partners and will end in April 2019 with a celebration and open house. The cost per pair is $375. Learn more at

YouQuest John McCaffery was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia (YOD) in 2007 at the age of 48. McCaffery was an active person before his diagnosis, but he and his wife Cindy soon learned that Calgary

had no relevant daytime support options for active people with YOD. “I never met anybody or spent time with people my age who were having similar difficulties,” he says. So, Cindy McCaffery and social entrepreneur Myrla Bulman created YouQuest, a wellness community for an underserved population with unique needs and abilities. In 2018, YouQuest received $50,000 from the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) to develop and evaluate the community-based wellness pilot. YouQuest provides weekly, full-day support to Calgarians with YOD, and its partnership with SAIT Recreation provides a host facility that gives participants full access to SAIT’s

Photo by Peter Gros

Memory Lane Chorus