DementiaHack 2017

This year Hackernest once again hosted DementiaHack in Toronto.  This was my third time to be involved as a mentor and a judge.

sylvia at dementiahack 2017

What an amazing event! If you are not familiar with the concept, a hackathon is an event where people get together, with their computers, to do some creative problem solving. In a DementiaHack, the problem is dementia and these amazing people are coming together to learn about it, to get an idea of what types of problems are created for people with dementia and those who care for them, and use technology to develop creative solutions. DementiaHack happens over a weekend and most of the kids (and yes, a lot of them really are kids!) are just going non-stop, finding mentors, asking questions, developing apps and building solutions. Some of them get NO SLEEP as the goal is to learn about the problem and come up with the solution in 30 hours!! Check out the link here to find out what this year’s event was like! DementiaHack

What about you? Have you had an experience like this before? If there is a hackathon coming to a neighbourhood near you, be sure to check it out. Trust me, you will be energized and inspired, even with very little sleep!!!

There is still time to have your say!

The Canadian Dementia Priority Setting Partnership wants to know where you think we need research related to living with dementia as well as dementia prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The research priorities identified from this study will be shared with researchers and research funding organisations so that they can incorporate them into their research agendas.

The study follows the methods of the James Lind Alliance (UK) and is being funded by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. It is being led by Dr. Katherine McGilton (Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network) and overseen by a Steering Group that includes people affected by dementia, either personally or professionally.

This is an opportunity for you to have your say in setting Canadian dementia research priorities.

Please complete this short questionnaire at: www.alzheimer.ca/researchpriorities

Thank you for your assistance.

***************

Le Partenariat pour l’établissement des priorités sur les maladies cognitives aimerait connaître votre opinion. Selon vous, la recherche devrait mettre l’accent sur quels aspects en particulier de la prévention, du diagnostic et du traitement de ce type de maladies, et de la vie quotidienne des personnes atteintes? Les priorités de recherche identifiées dans le cadre de cette étude seront transmises aux chercheurs et aux organismes de financement pour qu’ils les incorporent à leur programme de recherche.

Cette étude suit les méthodes de la James Lind Alliance (UK) et elle est financée par la Société Azheimer du Canada. Elle est dirigée par la Dre Katherine McGilton (chercheuse principale, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network) et elle est supervisée par un groupe de direction composé de personnes touchées par une maladie cognitive, à titre personnel ou professionnel.

Profitez de cette occasion pour faire connaître votre opinion relativement aux priorités de recherche sur les maladies cognitives au Canada.

Vous pouvez remplir ce petit questionnaire à : http://www.alzheimer.ca/fr

Nous vous remercions de votre collaboration.

 

An Indomitable Spirit – Spirit Unforgettable

I was fortunate to attend the final day of the Toronto Hot Docs 2016 Film Festival on Sunday. I got up early,  and headed to a local cinema in order to be first in line for rush tickets. Why would I do that on a Sunday? Because the film they were screening was ‘Spirit Unforgettable’.

If you enjoy documentary films, or you are a fan of the band Spirit of the West, or if you truly believe that more needs to be done to get the message about dementia out so that we can battle the stigma that so many associate with the diagnosis, then this was an event not to be missed. It is a brief look at the life of John Mann, lead singer for the band Spirit of the West. John was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease in September 2014.

The film tracks some of the events that occurred around the time of the diagnosis, flashing back to key milestones in the band’s history and leading up to what was probably their farewell concert at Massey Hall last year. It is an amazing look at how John’s courage is getting him through each day, with the tremendous support of his wife Jill, his kids and his family of band members.

John has become a friend of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto and is supporting their work and continuing to use music as a way to communicate. The film is certain to make you laugh and to make you cry, but it will also make you proud for John and his truly remarkable spirit. There are still opportunities to see John perform as part of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto’s Music Project. Here is a link if you might be interested:

The Spirit of John

Therapeutic Listening – looking to connect

A colleague from our Dementia Network has sent out the following request:

Looking for anybody who has experience using a Therapeutic Listening program with people with dementia.  I came across some interesting information on these programs and their benefits when addressing various cognitive issues.  Most of the work seems to be with children with learning disabilities, autism and other sensory processing problems.  However, people with dementia is a population they cite as potentially benefiting.

I have been able to contact with a local OT (St. John’s, NL) who has lots of experience using Therapeutic Listening with children.  So, she can help me with the methods.  But I would really like to connect with someone who has tried this approach with people with dementia.

Christina Sullivan

If you are interested, please contact: christina.sullivan@easternhealth.ca

 

Last day to register! Are you interested in building capacity and advancing the role of occupational therapy in dementia care?

The primary goal for CAOT’s Networks, including the Occupational Therapists Working in Dementia Care Network (OTDCN), is to build capacity. The networks also (1) provide direction, vision and action for the work of the Association; (2) provide opportunities for networking and mentoring, and (3) lobby for occupational therapy services. Join us on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from noon to 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) learn more about OTDCN, the activities planned for the upcoming year and how you can be involved. Registrants may participate through teleconference line (listen/speak) or webinar (listen/type).

If you can attend this meeting live, please register through the CAOT online store by February 3, 2016. If you cannot attend the meeting live but wish to receive additional information afterwards, please add your name here.

National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month #Still Here

January is national Alzheimer’s awareness month and this year they are promoting the #Still Here campaign.

http://www.alzheimer.ca/stillhere

 

The Alzheimer Society website has a powerful video and many quotes.  I encourage you to take a look.

For me, it was a reminder, that people live with dementia. People with full, rich lives. People who garden, shop, write, cook, dance.  People with diverse ways of spending their time. For me the # Still Here Campaign is a powerful reminder for us as occupational therapists to focus on all the occupations that bring richness to a persons life.  Not just the ADLs and I-ADLs; although they are important too :).

This campaign has inspired me to talk for a little longer with my patients about what brings value, what is important, what brings pleasure and how we can make it happen, how we can modify, adapt and enable.

Let us remember to see the person first.  # Still Here.

 

 

Are you interested in building capacity and advancing the occupational therapy role in dementia care?

The primary goal for CAOT’s Networks, including the Occupational Therapists Working in Dementia Care Network (OTDCN), is to build capacity. The networks also (1) provide direction, vision and action for the work of the Association; (2) provide opportunities for networking and mentoring, and (3) lobby for occupational therapy services. Join us on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from noon to 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) learn more about OTDCN, the activities planned for the upcoming year and how you can be involved. Registrants may participate through teleconference line (listen/speak) or webinar (listen/type).

If you can attend this meeting live, please register through the CAOT online store by February 3, 2016. If you cannot attend the meeting live but wish to receive additional information afterwards, please add your name here.

Welcome to a New Year!

I am always amazed when a year ends and another suddenly arrives! They say (whoever ‘they’ are), that time flying by is a sign of getting older – so I have aged a LOT lately!

I love the end of the year; it’s a chance to reflect on everything that has happened over the past 12 months and a terrific opportunity to consider what’s to come. Certainly, most of us experienced a great deal of change in 2015 and if you are anything like me, you probably found these changes to be challenging.

balance

However, as an occupational therapist, I am reminded that I need to find a balance.

I may complain, and think about how things “used to be”, but at the same time, change can be good. Often, it can energize us and force us to consider doing things differently.

I am reminded of a quote. No idea where I heard it, but I think it is appropriate for all of us in these challenging times:

“Most people HATE the idea of trying new things unless there’s a guaranteed payoff. People who operate under that mindset will NEVER live up to their full potential.”

So I say, bring on 2016 and everything that comes with it! Who knows what heights we might reach!

 

CBC Radio “Spark”: Featuring Sylvia Davidson

Listen to this interesting episode of Spark featuring Sylvia Davidson discussing the use of technology for individuals with dementia.  Very interesting subject matter and a look at how technology may impact, and likely innovate, dementia care in the future.  Exciting times!

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/302-dementia-dumpster-diving-driverless-cars-and-more-1.3347851/dementia-is-not-an-individual-s-disease-it-s-something-that-can-tear-families-apart-1.3347854

Spark goes to DementiaHack, a hacakthon with a goal to come up with tools and technologies that can be of practical benefit to people with dementia and their caregivers.

Developing a Dementia Strategy. Is this news?

There was a recent letter in The Toronto Star, advocating, once again, for a national dementia strategy.

Readers’ letters to The Star

For those of us working in the field, this is probably not news. However, of interest, I was recently invited to attend one of several round table discussions that Ontario’s Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, MPP for Halton, Indira Naidoo-Harris is holding across the Province. Ontario is looking at developing its own dementia strategy and a wide range of stakeholders; providers, persons with dementia and their caregivers are being invited to sit down and share their stories. It seems that Ontario is committed to this strategy and everyone should be encouraged to get involved. Your local chapter of the Alzheimer Society can help, if you, or someone you know, wants to be part of the process.

Ontario Dementia Strategy

In fact, the anticipated cost of dementia in Canada continues to be a staggering figure that demands local, provincial and national attention.

How do you plan to get involved? Leave a comment! Let’s start a conversation right now!