January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month




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January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Each year, this month is dedicated to raising awareness about dementia and the supports available. Did you know that over 17,000 Nova Scotians live with dementia? And with thousands more that care for them, chances are you or someone you know are affected by the disease. That’s why the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia (ASNS) is here — to support Nova Scotians on the dementia journey. ASNS has staff across the province, including myself here on the South Shore. We offer a range of supports, including a toll-free support line (1-800-611-6345), support groups, public education and more. We have specific programs tailored to people with dementia, care partners and healthcare providers, and I can provide information on them to anyone who is interested. Our caregiver support groups (currently held on Zoom) are always there to welcome new members if you’re caring for a person with dementia and need support. These groups offer a safe environment where you can learn, share and help each other. Since March 2020, the majority of our programming has been held online or over the phone due to the pandemic. We know that the virtual world is not for everyone, and even the best video calling software doesn’t replace a true face-to-face connection. As we welcome the new year, we’re hopeful we’ll be able to offer more regular in-person programs. I know I can’t wait to be able to hold a public education session inperson again. Education sessions are key to providing our community with information on dementia and the resources and supports that are available. And anyone can host one. If you are involved in an organization or just have a group of folks who want to learn, you can reach out to me to arrange an education session (at no cost to you). We can determine if it’s best to do it virtually or in-person as public health guidelines allow. We have an education opportunity already planned for later this month that everyone from across the province is welcome to join. On Jan. 27, we’ll be hosting a virtual panel presentation as part of our Awareness Month initiatives titled Dementia: Why should I get a diagnosis? We’ll welcome three speakers, including a physician and a care partner. Find out more on our website: www.alzheimer.ca/ns. If you’re reading this and you’re on your own dementia journey or just find yourself wanting to know more about our services, I hope that you’ll reach out to me. We’re here to support you every step of the way. I can be reached by phone at 902523-1614 or e-mail at cheryl. mackay@asns.ca. Cheryl Mackay is regional coordinator, education and outreach, South Shore, Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia. Aging Well Corner is brought to you by Community Links. Community Links is a provincewide organization that promotes and supports the development of age-friendly, inclusive communities by connecting individuals and organizations. Our vision is that all Nova Scotians can age well in their communities. Aging Well Coalitions meet regularly to address issues of healthy aging and develop projects that enhance life for older adults in the region. For more information, visit nscommunitylinks.ca.