Alzheimer’s Disease and Cognitive Decline
“Memory tends to pull us back toward the past. You don’t need memory to be able to enjoy life in the moment.”
— Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber, journalist
ADDING TO THE ISOLATION
Seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive or sensory impairment are more likely to suffer from isolation. Memory loss and other forms of decline make socializing even more difficult, and this can eventually lead to out-an-out abandonment and neglect. Sadly, many elderly Alzheimer’s patients are left to their own devices, with nobody to visit them or show them any affection. Yet their need for human connection and emotional support is just as real and just as important for these individuals.
CATERING TO THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT
We remain committed to our Elder Friends until their last breath, no matter what. In the case of Elder Friends with Alzheimer’s disease, our specialized counsellors and trained volunteers use an adapted approach. A program is developed to stimulate their remaining abilities, prevent further decline, provide sensory experiences and help forge meaningful ties with them, regardless of what their limitations are in terms of mobility, physical capacity or intellectual ability.
We can plan special trips for them to give them a break from their largely medicalized environment. This gives them a chance to live life at their own pace, feel like they’re part of a family, commune with nature and, in some cases, help with routine chores.
For our bedridden Elder Friends, we have tweaked the program to focus on shorter but more frequent visits. This is more in tune with their specific needs and ensures they have someone looking in on them and making sure they are cared for until the very end.
ALZHEIMER CAFÉS: OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Every second Wednesday of the month, we invite members of the public to our Alzheimer Cafés. We co-host these events, which are offered free of charge, with the Alzheimer Society of Montreal at our centre on Garnier Street in Montreal.
Alzheimer Cafés are an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts and talks by healthcare professionals who work in the field. They also feature information on various approaches used to help people living with the disease and share experiences with others.
There are currently 125,000 people in Quebec with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Society reports that women make up 72% of the cases reported in Canada. Bearing in mind that 76% of our Elder Friends are women, this is an important statistic for us.
Fortunately, anyone who falls into this category can rest assured that Little Brothers will be there for them for as long as they need us.