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So far Alzheimer Society of Toronto has created 9 blog entries.
24 Jan

Guest Feature: Assessing Alzheimer’s Risk Using the Spartan Cube APOE System

2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00

The knowledge that we gain through clinical research helps improve the ways we can prevent, diagnose, and treat Alzheimer’s and dementias– but researchers can’t do it alone. They need volunteers in order to improve the lives of those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Click here to learn more about clinical trials and decide if it’s right for you and your family.

Preventing Alzheimer’s disease is a complicated but essential undertaking.  Clinical trials to assess prevention strategies are finally underway and all of us can participate in moving these trials forward.  Assessing one’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease can be an important starting point.  A new technology to assess a risk factor gene for Alzheimer’s disease from a cheek swab sample is now available and can determine who is at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  This risk factor gene is known as APOE and it is the APOE4 version of the gene that increases our risk. One copy of E4 increases our risk 3-fold while two copies of E4 increase our risk 8-12 fold.  The higher one’s risk, the more relevant it is to consider joining a prevention study.

The SPARTAN CUBE APOE system is a 5”x 5” device created by Spartan Bioscience, Inc. for rapid assessment of one’s APOE genes from a cheek swab sample. The device is approved for research use and yields results with greater than 95% accuracy. Individuals who provide a cheek swab specimen may opt to be contacted only if they are eligible to join a prevention study or alternatively, individuals may wish to learn their APOE results regardless of a study opportunity.

A registry at Toronto Memory Program is currently enlisting individuals who carry one or more copies of the E4 gene in order that these individuals may be invited to join current or future Alzheimer’s prevention studies. Individuals who are over the age of 60 and who are cognitively well, or have only mild cognitive symptoms, may be eligible for these studies.

A cheek swab takes a few minutes and is painless. The cost of this genetic test is covered by the research program.  Disclosure of results is done by knowledgeable professionals and only if one wishes to learn one’s results.  There is no impact on your insurance or employment as per Canada’s Bill S-201 (the Genetic Non-discrimination Act).

In the past, the responsibility has fallen on those already affected with Alzheimer’s disease to join studies and help us find better treatments. We owe much gratitude to these volunteers. Now all of us can get involved, starting with a cheek swab. Let us be the generation that takes action to prevent Alzheimer’s disease for ourselves and for generations to come.

– Dr. Sharon Cohen, Neurologist at Toronto Memory Program

To book an appointment for a cheek swab, or to join a cheek swab event, contact Toronto Memory Program’s research line at 416-386-9606.

Guest Feature: Assessing Alzheimer’s Risk Using the Spartan Cube APOE System2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00
10 Jan

Walk For Memories 2018

2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00

The Walk For Memories is quickly approaching– we are less than a month away! If you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?

The Walk is taking place on February 3, 2018 from 8.30am – 12pm at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. And if you haven’t heard, we are back in the PATH! We can’t wait for you to see all the new aspects that we have introduced to the event this year. You definitely do not want to miss out on the largest walk for dementia in Canada, plus our first-ever Family Slumber Party, on February 2, 2018, the night before the Walk.

This year, we are also encouraging youth to learn about philanthropy, and fundraise. Thanks to the generosity of the Carswell Family Foundation, we will be matching all donations made to youth fundraising pages up to a total of $50,000 matched. That means that any youth who raises $500 gets to attend the Family Slumber Party with their family for FREE!

We’ve set our biggest goal yet for this year’s Walk For Memories. We want to raise $680,000 but we can’t do it without you. Your support means we can continue to fund research, provide counselling and educate the public about dementia and how they can help. Register today at www.walk.alz.to and get started on your fundraising. See you there!

Walk For Memories 20182019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00
31 Oct

Building a Dementia-Friendly Toronto

2019-06-13T10:45:09-05:00

Have you heard? Toronto has officially joined the global movement to build a Dementia-Friendly Community™!

The Alzheimer Society of Toronto’s Dementia-Friendly Communities program was launched on October 23, 2017 and there were over 100 participants, including people living with dementia and memory loss, care partners, and local businesses and organisations.

Together, we talked about how we can support people living with dementia to be included in all aspects of community life. YOU can help. As community members, businesses, and organizations, we must promote the independence and safety of people living with dementia by learning, raising awareness, and working together.

Our goal here at the Alzheimer Society of Toronto is to change social and physical environments so that our neighbourhoods are places where people living with dementia and their care partners feel valued and empowered.

We know this won’t happen overnight, and it certainly won’t happen without your help.

Based on our conversations at our launch, graphic recorder Patricia Kambitsch created these visuals of changes we hope to accomplish within the next year, as well as changes we think will take a little longer. Take a look, and let us know if you have any ideas to add!

 

 

 

We need you to take action now to help us build a dementia-friendly Toronto! Here are some simple things you can do that will have a big effort in our neighbourhoods:

 

  1. Email the Dementia-Friendly Toronto video and website to your family and friends.
  2. Invite us to do a FREE Dementia-Friendly Community™ training for your team or community group.
    BONUS: You’ll receive an official badge for your organization once all training is complete!
  3. Join the Advisory Committee if you are a person living with memory loss or a care partner. Reply to this email for more information.
  4. Distribute Dementia-Friendly Toronto postcards to local businesses and organizations. Ask for some today– they are free of charge!
  5. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #DementiaFriendlyTO.

 

The Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative has been generously sponsored by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Building a Dementia-Friendly Toronto2019-06-13T10:45:09-05:00
23 Jun

Operation Thank You

2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00

It’s Friday afternoon of a long week.  My mind is starting to wind down for the weekend… and then, I decide to make some Operation Thank You calls.  I’m not exactly in the mood – I did say I was tired, right? – but then I think, I might as well.  My first call is to a donor who makes a gift each year on Mother’s Day to remember her mother who had Alzheimer’s disease.  My second call is to a board member who, unsolicited, made an online donation – bigger than their gift from the previous year.  Now, I’m not so tired.  Thanking people is an incredible feeling and one we all ought to be grateful for.

Operation Thank You started in December 2015.  Admittedly,  I adopted this program from one that Rickesh used to do at the United Way  (with his heartfelt support). When Rickesh first told me about how all the staff (during their “Thank-a-thon”) would call all donors, I knew I loved the idea.

So here, at the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, Operation Thank You is done year-round – by all staff.  No matter the level of gift or who made the donation – staff from administration, fundraising, programs and marketing ALL make calls.  The only requirement is to call the donor and offer a sincere thank you for choosing to support us.  And, without question, staff members love it.  It has fostered a culture of philanthropy at AST; our staff sees why donors and giving are important – and we get to say thank you for supporting the work that they do.

From a fundraising side of things, we do track who contacted the donor and any information from the phone call – and have devised an affinity rating in our database.  We plan to use these affinity ratings to inform who we talk to and how we talk to them about the work we do.

We often feel there is not enough time to do everything we want to in a day, but I believe there is always time for a thank you.

Operation Thank You2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00
15 Jun

Volunteer Highlight: Ophelia

2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00

My name is Ophelia. I have been a volunteer with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto since 2013 and have been a regular supporter for many years before that. Their vision of living in a world without dementia is so important to me and very close to my heart.  I lost a loved one to the disease. I felt that it was essential for me to get more involved by helping the Society in their cause in whatever way I can. This is the reason I became a volunteer.

I have enjoyed volunteering with AST these past few years and hope to continue for as long as they will need me. It’s always a pleasure working with the staff and other volunteers. I love the varied volunteer roles I have been participating in. I love and enjoy the experience. To name a few: I help at the office with administrative work (data entry, scanning, sorting and mailings); I help in various roles at the annual Walk for Memories (packing the goodie bags for the Walk participants, registration, providing info to Walkers, etc.); I assist the Social Workers when they host people with dementia and their families or caregivers at the Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Ontario several times a year. It is wonderful interacting with everyone and I learn a lot of things from them.

It is from my volunteering with them that I learned about all the wonderful support and services they provide, not just to people with dementia but also to their families and caregivers. I believe that their education programs to teach people about the disease are vital to the community, especially since it is estimated that the number ­of people living with dementia is increasing dramatically every year.

I will continue to volunteer with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto for as long as they need me, and hopefully in different roles to add to the ones I have had the privilege of experiencing.

 Are you inspired by Ophelia’s volunteer story? Check out the volunteer opportunities available with AST right now.

Volunteer Highlight: Ophelia2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00
31 May

The Longest Goodbye

2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00

Lyndon Blackbird learned how to gently dab and smooth foundation onto his wife’s beautiful face. He’d known Evelyn for almost 30 years, but her beauty regimen was completely new territory. As Evelyn’s early onset Alzheimer’s quickly progressed, Lyndon had to learn a lot more. How to help her shower. How to choose a coordinated outfit and get her dressed every morning. How to calm her down when she got angry or confused.

“When you love somebody, you just want to take care of them,” Lyndon said. “She’s given so much to me over the years, that it just seems like something natural to move forward and take care of her and see her through.”

When Evelyn was diagnosed in February 2012, Lyndon looked into her teary, fearful eyes and promised to stay by her side and devote all his attention to her care. Both of them wanted to be as informed and prepared as possible for the difficult road ahead, so they turned to the Alzheimer Society of Toronto for help. Thanks to support from donors like you, Lyndon took a Dementia 101 course, joined a caregiver support group, and developed a roadmap for Evelyn’s care so they could finance everything and everyone she needed: medication, personal support workers, physiotherapists, and ultimately, a nursing home.

“There’s so many programs and seminars that the Alzheimer Society offers,” Lyndon said. “I took advantage of them and I used them and they helped me all the way.”

As Evelyn’s memories quickly faded, Lyndon re-told her stories of their happiest moments together – skydiving, feeding kangaroos in Australia, watching classic movies, hosting Dungeons and Dragons game nights. These are the memories that Lyndon cherishes even more now that Evelyn is gone.

Lyndon also became a board member of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, honouring Evelyn’s wish for him to give back to the community that helped them navigate their journey.

“She wanted me to have a purpose,” he recalled. “I already knew it would be with the Alzheimer Society.”

 

Find out more about how your support helps people like Lyndon and Evelyn. Sign up to get our BEACON online monthly newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.

The Longest Goodbye2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00
18 May

Nonna Mila’s Super Family

2019-05-10T07:29:16-05:00

The Walk For Alzheimer’s brings together thousands of community members across Canada who all have a common goal: to end Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Many of those who participate know someone who lives or has lived with the disease, and fundraising is a great way to support and honour them. This week, Tamar Atik writes about Nonna Mila’s Super Family. Quotes that are attributed to the family or grandchildren include answers that were collectively compiled for this article. Tamar Atik is the Etobicoke Walk communications coordinator.

Five children, 15 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. That’s Emilia Moretti‘s legacy.

Her family has come together and taken the Etobicoke Walk For Alzheimer’s by storm raising more than $3,000 so far.

Officially called Team Moretti, this is the family’s first time participating since Emilia’s passing in 2016. 

Nonna Mila, as she is called by her grandchildren, immigrated to Etobicoke, Ont., from Italy in 1958 with four young sons (the fifth was born in Canada). Her husband had preceded them to prepare for the family’s move.

Emilia loved to reminisce about the past and growing up in Italy. Her family recalls her describing hardships, especially for women. After telling her stories, her family says Nonna Mila would finish with, “Back then things were troubling for some reasons, now they are troubling for others. That’s the way of progress I guess.”

 Emilia worked tirelessly to raise her boys and look after her family, and could not have been prouder to see the men they grew up to be, her grandchildren say. “She was happiest around friends and family, whether it was Sunday lunch with her children and grandchildren (and great-grandchildren!) or weekdays at the Sam McCallion Day Centre,” the family remembers. “Her face lit up when you entered the room to greet her, and she always had a warm and very hearty hug ready for you.”

Leading Team Moretti is Natalie Moretti, Emilia’s 14th grandchild. “Having such a big and supportive family definitely made this whole experience easy,” she says. “The whole family was very receptive to the idea and we’re using it not only to raise money for a cause that’s close to heart, but also to get the family together and to celebrate her memory.”

“Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging, even with a large family support system,” the family says. “It can be made easier however with the help and support of individuals and organizations like the Alzheimer Society.” The family also credits the Alzheimer’s day program at the Sam McCallion Day Centre, which helped create a stable routine for Emilia. 

“Nonna valued family and cultural traditions,” her grandchildren say. “She made sure to pass these traditions onto her sons, and share them with new family members as her family grew. Her sons proudly continue these traditions, and in turn, are also passing them along to their sons and daughters.” 

When asked what their favourite things to do with Nonna Mila were, her grandchildren had a hard time narrowing them down. “Undoubtedly, we all had our own favourite thing to do with Nonna! One thing we most certainly would agree on is that Nonna let us ‘just be kids’… As kids we’d play in her basement, making forts out of couch cushions and old bed sheets. She didn’t ever cut our fun early, even when we got raucous or designed overly elaborate forts.” 

“As adults, we loved to chat with her over dinner or watch her play with her great-grandchildren,” her grandchildren note. “She loved to read picture books with the kids. Sometimes it was hard to tell who was telling who the story, and who was having more fun!”

“For the first 20 years of my life, I lived next door to Nonna and Nonno… And I always remember Nonna would let me do anything I wanted as kid – whether it be trying on her shoes and walking around the house, or feeding the birds way too many crackers…” granddaughter Daniella Moretti recalls.

“In 2012, I spent a semester studying abroad,” Natalie remembers. “Before coming home, I decided to take a trip to my grandparent’s hometown in Italy, see the house that my grandmother grew up in and meet extended family members for the first time. When I arrived home from my studies, I told my grandmother all about my travels. She was glowing! I’ve never seen her more excited and more engaged, asking question after question about my experience in her hometown and recollecting stories about our family members. I felt so privileged to not only have been to see my roots, but also have the opportunity to share my experience with my grandmother.”

Granddaughter Stefania Di Verdi’s favourite memory is from her adulthood. “A few years ago I got married. We lived together at the time and every day she would ask me the same question, ‘When do we get to toss the confetti?’ On my wedding day, I turned to her and said proudly, ‘Nonna, today we get to toss the confetti.’ The look on her face was sheer joy.” 

“By walking, we are doing our part to support not only our loved ones, but other community members who have been or will be touched by Alzheimer’s,” the family says. “The Alzheimer Society does very important work, and they need our continued support.” 

Join the Moretti family at the Walk For Alzheimer’s or you can donate to their campaign here.

Nonna Mila’s Super Family2019-05-10T07:29:16-05:00
12 May

We can’t tell you we’re the best…

2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00

But our families sure can!

 

“I came here to die, but now I’m here to live” – Mrs. Jacobs. as quoted by her son two weeks after moving into One Kenton Place.

Mrs. Jacobs is 96 years old and lives with dementia. She was brought to One Kenton Place by her loving and doting children after an extensive search of the city’s array of memory care residences.

“Why did you choose One Kenton Place?” I asked her son. 

“You could feel the love and compassion the moment you stepped through these doors,” he replied.

Since One Kenton Place opened its doors in 2014, our primary focus has been on creating an environment rooted in resident-centred care. As we moved through our process of welcoming new residents to our home, we asked ourselves, ‘Are we truly resident-centered?’  Does our perception of quality care mirror the perceptions of our residents and their families? With longer life expectancies, levels of care are changing within the senior living sector, particularly in the areas of memory care. So, how do we really know that we’re truly delivering quality care, and have been successful in accomplishing our resident-centred goals?

Through client testimonials, that’s how….

“My husband never said more than four words at home, but he hasn’t stopped talking since he came here!”  – Mr. Jones’ wife. as quoted a week after he moved into One Kenton Place.

Mr. Jones has been living with Alzheimer’s disease for the past ten years, and had been living at home. As his day-to-day needs grew in complexity, Mr. Jones’ loving and dedicated wife had to make the difficult decision to move him into a memory care residence. After visiting One Kenton Place she knew it was the right fit for him.

“How is everything going so far?” I asked his wife after one of her visits.

“Amazing! Just amazing! My husband is a completely different person here,” she replied.

Providing personalized care without compromise in a joyful and loving home for all people living with dementia is one of our guiding principles. However, making it a reality for all of our residents is our MISSION.

 

 

AlzTo Community Partners

The Alzheimer Society of Toronto shares educational opportunities available through third party community organization to its community and stakeholders. We only do this if we believe the information is aligned with our mission and consistent with your expressed interest in our work. This is not an endorsement of the Community Partner and should only be viewed as information that was believed to be of interest to our community members.

If you have questions or comments about the content, please contact write@alz.to.

 

We can’t tell you we’re the best…2019-04-25T19:48:38-05:00
8 May

Keeping Memories Alive at the Walk For Alzheimer’s

2019-05-10T07:30:09-05:00

The Walk For Alzheimer’s brings together thousands of community members across Canada who all have a common goal: to end Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Many of those who participate know someone who lives or has lived with the disease, and fundraising is a great way to support and honour them. This week, we found out why Bruna Walks For Alzheimer’s.

 

Losing my mother to Alzheimer’s has made me realize how important it is to bring awareness to people who are unfamiliar with this devastating disease. It was very painful for my family and I to witness our loved one succumb to this deteriorating illness. It left us emotionally torn, and exhausted by the experience.

Alzheimer’s can take away a person’s ability to process their thoughts and memories. Over time, they will also lose the ability to care for themselves. It is important to help them with this difficult transition they face. Regular visits can help stimulate their memory as well help them to not feel so isolated. These feelings can devastate those dealing with this and paralyze their ability to cope. As hard as it was for me to witness, I pushed myself to be the pillar of strength for my mom, who once was for me. Being able to talk to close family and friends helped me to persevere and deal with these emotions.  

My mother’s illness has taught me to value life. It offered me the privilege, opportunity and responsibility to give something back, and to cherish the moments and times that I had left with her. It is through these struggles that I became even more aware of the importance of accepting and being there for those we care about.

I had discovered through my experiences in caring for my mother that music and outdoor walks were great therapy. This brought some clarity to her memories and allowed her to experience a happier place which was soothing and calming to her soul. Her smile would brighten and reassure me that I was making and sharing moments that really mattered to both of us.

Giving is not just about a donation. It’s about making a difference. With your support, the Alzheimer Society can continue to provide essential programs and services that work to effectively alleviate the personal social consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementias within our community.

This will be my second year participating in the Walk for Alzheimer’s, making memories matter, in honour of my mother Rosa. Together we can make a difference, by keeping memories alive.

– Bruna

 

Join Bruna and her family at the Walk For Alzheimer’s or you can donate to her campaign here.

 

Keeping Memories Alive at the Walk For Alzheimer’s2019-05-10T07:30:09-05:00

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