A $100,000 Ontario government grant will help the Alzheimer Society of Cornwall and District to develop 50 new Dementia Friendly Communities and train 2,000 people within neighbourhoods, organizations, businesses, workplaces and services within the Champlain region.
Research has shown that while awareness about dementia has increased, stigma and negative attitudes around it continue to persist.
The regional Alzheimer Society branch has tackled the issue through a pilot project it undertook last year, providing Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) training to private and public sector organizations.
With this recent grant from the Ministry of Seniors Affairs, the Alzheimer Society aims to expand on the success of the pilot efforts in Cornwall and extend the program to other parts of Eastern Ontario.
The knowledge gained from the training sessions will be shared with other Alzheimer Societies throughout Ontario so they can do the same in their own communities.
All inquiries to become a DFC are welcome by the AS of Cornwall and District.
The society is accepting applications from businesses, organizations, workplaces, neighbourhoods in Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, Russell and Akwesasne.
Those who receive the free three-hour training session are formally recognized as a Dementia Friendly Community and will be provided with DFC decals to display in their windows, will be highlighted on Ontario’s DFC microsite and most importantly will become better equipped to support this growing need.
Contact the AS at 613-932-4914 or [email protected] for more information.
A Leger-led survey, which polled 1,500 Canadians between 18 and 65, found that 46 per cent of respondents would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia, while 61 per cent said they would face discrimination of some kind.
The survey also shows that one in four Canadians believes that he or she would be shunned by friends and family he or she was diagnosed with dementia.
Only five per cent of Canadians would learn more about dementia if a family member, friend or co-worker were diagnosed.
One in five individuals would avoid seeking help for as long as possible in order to avoid being ostracized.
“This is something that a community has the power to change,” notes the society.
DFC training has already been offered to first responders, city employees, a tourist attraction, and a pharmacy.
Each group has modified its customer service principles to enhance communication strategies when interacting with someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.