Organizers of an upcoming workshop hope to break through the stigma of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and increase awareness and dialogue about the impacts of the illnesses.
Windsor Park United Church (1062 Autumnwood Dr.) will host the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba’s event on Sat., Jan. 19 from 9 a.m. and noon. The workshop will be presented by Maria Mathews, ASM’s manager of client support, and is co-sponsored by Archwood 55 Plus, High Steppers Seniors Club, Prendergast Seniors and Seine River Seniors.
The free event, which is open to the community, is one of a series of events happening during Alzheimer Awareness Month, which includes a nationwide campaign — titled See me, not my disease. Let’s talk about dementia. — designed to address misinformation and stereotypes about dementia, change perspectives and make it easier to talk openly about, organizers say.
Patrick Woodbeck, an associate minister at the church, said the workshop is aimed at individuals whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s or dementia being diagnosed in a friend or family member.
He said the event will also examine the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, how the disease differs from other forms of dementia and the impact the illnesses are having on society, as well as the local community.
"From a pastoral care perspective, the average age of most Christian congregations is getting older and the workshop is focused on their caregivers and how they can deal with the sufferers, so it’s important to get information," Woodbeck said, noting the importance of being well-informed.
"It’s the advent of the idea that people do better outside of a hospital setting, so family and respite workers will now play a bigger role. I’m middle-aged and my parents are getting up there. If my father forgets his keys, is he just getting older or is it Alzheimer’s? Is there a difference? Definitely."
More than 20,000 Manitobans are currently living with dementia. To register for the event, visit Alzheimer.mb.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-378-6699.