Reflections on “The Wanderers” article…..

The Toronto Star article posted last week entitled “The Wanderers” is an excellent read – the personal stories are very powerful and highlight the day to day caregiving challenges for individuals with dementia.  The article may be helpful to caregivers and families dealing with wandering issues – sometimes it helps to know you are not alone.

The article reinforced how common an issue wandering is – and reminded me of the news story I had heard just the week before about  a “Missing 76 year old woman with dementia found safe”.

In thinking and researching more about wandering – how to prevent it – how to manage it when it happens – how to approach a wanderer – I came across this great resource from The Alzheimer’s Society of BC.  See the link below for their: Wandering Information Kit – it has practical tips for managing this challenge –

Take a look:


In the news: Stress of family caregiving red flagged

Many people caring for a chronically ill family member say they’re very stressed, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada. It’s calling for better access to mental health treatment as a top priority.

Thursday’s interim report from the commission red flags the nearly 17 per cent of the 5.5 million Canadian caregivers aged 15 and over as a “substantial proportion” coping with very difficult levels of caregiver stress

Read full article at:  

Learn how to reduce caregiver stress at:

The Wanderers

Six in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias become lost at least once, usually without warning. The risk of serious injury or death escalates with every passing hour that they’re not found.

Read the Star’s insightful report on this issue.

Learn about our national MedicAlert® Safely Home® program which helps people with dementia who go missing. Ontario residents, learn about our wandering prevention program Finding Your Way


The Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia

The Global Deterioration Scale (GDS), developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg, provides caregivers an overview of the stages of cognitive function for those suffering from a primary degenerative dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. It is broken down into 7 different stages. Stages 1-3 are the pre-dementia stages. Stages 4-7 are the dementia stages. Biginning in stage 5, an individual can no longer survive without assistance.

Find out more at:

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

The Alzheimer Society of Canada is focussing its campaign for 2015 on “the 72%”.

According to Dr. Carmela Tartaglia (Assistant Professor, University Health Network – Memory Clinic/Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto), 72% of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s Disease are women and women represent 70% of caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s Disease. Do you know someone who is part of this 72%? Take the time to connect with her. Share the 10 warning signs.

Let’s get talking about this!

CANADA AM Week-long series “Living with Alzheimer’s” starts Monday

January is Alzheimer Awareness Month and as a supporter of the Alzheimer Society, we thought you might be interested in tuning into CANADA AM’s week-long series on Alzheimer’s disease.

Tune in starting Monday, January 19 2015.

CANADA AM Presents a Special Week-Long Series:  LIVING WITH ALZHEIMER’S, January 19-22 on CTV

Victor Garber, Olivia Chow, Jann Arden, and more join national conversation on the medical and social impacts of the progressive and degenerative disease CANADA AM hosts special Town Hall and concurrent Live Web Chat, Jan. 22

“I loathe watching them misplace every single thing…but they are happy. They are so good humoured and light hearted, positive, faithful, and easy going. I am the only one freaking out. I need to tear a page out of their book and just calm the hell down.”  – Jann Arden, on the struggles of Alzheimer’s and aging parents

Airing on CTV, CTV News Channel, the CTV GO app, and the CTV News GO app, experts join a diverse range of Canadian voices throughout the series, including actor Victor Garber, former NDP MP and Toronto City Councillor Olivia Chow, and award-winning singer-songwriter Jann Arden, as they explore the Alzheimer’s from both medical and very personal perspectives. The series culminates on Thursday, Jan. 22 with a live Town Hall and simultaneous, interactive web chat at Viewers are invited to submit their questions and personal stories in advance of the broadcast at

CANADA AM’s week-long LIVING WITH ALZHEIMER’S series features:

Monday, Jan. 19: Inside the Body

  • Why We Need to Care About Alzheimer’s: Mimi Lowi-Young, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada, presents a snapshot of the disease in Canada today, and why the country must work together to make it a priority.
  • The Latest Research: CANADA AM medical contributor Dr. Marla Shapiro shares the latest in Alzheimer’s research.
  • The Young Face of Alzheimer’s: CANADA AM’s Beverly Thomson talks to Moira Courtenay, a mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 50, and her daughter Kathleen Fraschetti (23), who is struggling to maintain the care required. The two are subjects in the revealing, feature-length documentary  Much Too Young, which chronicles the lives of five Canadian families dealing with early onset Alzheimer’s. Thomson also speaks to the documentary’s filmmaker Chris Wynn, who experienced the devastating effects of the disease after his father was diagnosed.

Fitness and Alzheimer’s: McMaster University’s Jennifer J. Heisz shares how exercise can help prevent Alzheimer’s, while fitness expert Libby Norris demonstrates easy ways to include fitness into a daily routine.

Tuesday, Jan. 20: Inside the Family

  • Victor Garber: The Canadian actor shares his personal experience with the disease and his transformation into a lifelong Alzheimer’s advocate.
  • The Latest Research: CANADA AM medical contributor Dr. Marla Shapiro shares the latest in Alzheimer’s research.

Parenting the Parents: CANADA AM hosts a special parenting panel featuring former NDP MP and Toronto City Councillor Olivia Chow and award-winning Canadian singer Jann Arden as they share their personal stories caring for parents suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. The segment also features Dr. Michael Gordon, co-author of Parenting Your Parents, looking at the challenges of a son or daughter being forced into the role of parent.

Wednesday, Jan. 21: Disease in the Mind

  • Faye Jashyn joins CANADA AM to share the tragic experience of how her father’s increasingly violent behaviour due to Alzheimer’s lead to a death
  • University of Toronto professor Lynn MacDonald shares findings on the causes and consequences of violent behaviour demonstrated by Alzheimer’s patients, as well as the phenomenon of wandering and homecare neglect.

The Power of Hope and Happiness: Baycrest Centre social worker Melissa Tafler joins Sabrina McCurbin of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto to share how the mysterious and miraculous effect of the arts – dance, music, storytelling, and sculpting – can help to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Thursday, Jan. 22: Town Hall – Disease in Our Lives

  • The Race for a Cure and Drug Trials: Dr. Sharon Cohen of the Toronto Memory Program introduces one of many people racing against time to participate in clinical studies of unproven medications, hoping to find a cure.
  • CANADA AM hosts a live, interactive Town Hall dedicated to those living with Alzheimer’s. The special discussion features a comprehensive panel of experts responding to questions in real time while also contributing to a simultaneous, interactive web chat at CANADA AM’S Town Hall and web chat feature contributions from:
    • Judith Wahl, a financial expert who will assess the cost of care.
    • Linda Jackson, a social worker specializing in advising families on caregiving techniques.
    • Jay Ingram, author and former host of DAILY PLANET whose recent book, The End of Memory, traces the history of Alzheimer’s from its original discovery to present day.
    • Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher chronicles the journey from diagnosis to care.
    • Mimi Lowi-Young, CEO of Alzheimer Society of Canada.
    • Dr. Sharon Cohen of the Toronto Memory Clinic.
    • Rick Lauber, author of Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians.

John Mann of Spirit of the West – recently diagnosed at age 51 with early onset Alzheimer’s – along with his wife, Jill Daum.


Special thank you to the Alzheimers Society of Canada for sharing this Information.

Dementia: Its Challenges and Opportunities. Preparing Ourselves for the Future

Old Women and Young woman
Presented by Sylvia Davidson, O.T. Reg. (Ont.)This two-day interactive workshop will provide occupational therapists and other health professionals working with older adults the opportunity to learn and to discuss topics relevant to dementia. Day 1 focusses on understanding the brain and the course of dementia, reviewing key assessment tools and providing a systematic approach to behaviours associated with dementia. Day 2 of this interactive workshop will allow participants to explore several “sensitive issues” that present unique ethical challenges, such as driving, intimacy and long-term care settings.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – March 13 and 14, 2015

Halifax, Nova Scotia – April 10 and 11, 2015

Don’t miss out on these workshops


CBC Radio – ‘The Current’ – Special Series: Diagnosis Dementia – May 2014

In May 2014, the CBC Radio program ‘The Current’ aired an interesting series entitled “Diagnosis Dementia”.  This link features Canadians from all across the country who called into the program to share their experiences of living with dementia.

“We spoke with people who have received the diagnosis; we visited a long term care facility that’s on the cutting edge of care; we heard the latest science behind the disease; and we’ve heard from families consumed with caring for a loved one. It all culminated with a phone -in, when we heard from people across the country. ”

Anna Maria Tremonti was joined by Mary Schulz, the Director of Information, Support and Education at the Alzheimer Society of Canada and Dr. Carmela Tartaglia, a cognitive neurologist at Toronto Western Hospital.