Lauded for train­ing

City rec­og­nized by Alzheimer So­ci­ety for help­ing make Corn­wall de­men­tia-friendly

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - NEWS - ALAN S. HALE ahale@post­media.com twit­ter.com/Alan_S_Hale

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.”

ALAN S. HALE/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREEHOLDER

Alzheimer So­ci­ety ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Shelly Vail­lan­court presents an ex­cel­lence award to Mayor Les­lie O'Shaugh­nessy on Mon­day.

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