Lauded for training
City recognized by Alzheimer Society for helping make Cornwall dementia-friendly
The Cornwall and District Alzheimer Society presented Cornwall city council with an excellence award for the municipality ’s work in trying to make the community more dementia friendly.
“One of the things I’m told frequently by people living with dementia and their caregivers is that they live in the community, but most often they don’t feel like they are a part of it,” said Shelley Vaillancourt, executive director.
The common conception of people with dementia is someone who is in the late stages of their memory and cognitive faculties breaking down completely. Vaillancourt said the reality is most people with the disease will spend 25 years living with the symptoms, and they spend those years feeling cut off from the rest of the community.
“Everyone has bad days – we all do, I certainly do. We should not focus on the bad days that we have, we need to focus on the people behind the disease,” she said.
To help alleviate those issues, advocates have come up with a national dementia charter of rights and have been pushing for more training for people working in public-facing occupations so they know how to accommodate people who’ve begun experiencing the symptoms of dementia.
The Alzheimer Society has been providing that kind of training and the City of Cornwall has been sending many of its staff members to attend sessions, which is what Vaillancourt wanted to applaud the city for with the award presented on Monday.
In The City of Cornwall, there are over 450 people who have been trained to date; everyone from 9-1-1 dispatchers, to first responders, to people in environmental services, housing, children’s services and people who work in the city buildings,” said Vaillancourt. “You as a council are supporting that training.”
Besides the training, the city has also made dementia-friendly changes at public facilities such as including a family change room at the aquatics centre where someone with dementia can go in with a caregiver to help them change into their swimsuit.
“Those are those are all the components you can have when you know how to implement them.”
Alzheimer Society executive director Shelly Vaillancourt presents an excellence award to Mayor Leslie O'Shaughnessy on Monday.