Great book – Feeding my Mother by Jan Arden

I really enjoyed this book.  Easy, enjoyable read.  Would be a great book to share with families caring for people with dementia.  A realistic and hopeful story.  Jan (I guess I can call her by 1st name!) uses activities very effectively with her Mom who has dementia.  Another what to be OT!!

Christina Sullivan

Occupational Therapist

St. John’s, NL

 

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January is Alzheimer Awareness Month

Happy New Year and wishes for a great 2018!

This year, as I do every January, I take some time to reflect on the growing number of Canadians who will be affected by dementia, either themselves, or for someone they care about. Just last month, CTV featured an update from the World Health Organization about the staggering numbers and costs to countries around the world, if we do not pay greater attention to this challenge – What WHO says

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Occupational therapists are working in various settings across Canada, helping persons with dementia and their carers to live every day in the best way possible. They are providing education about the disease;  giving individuals the strategies they need to cope; identifying strengths, maximizing function and abilities, and doing their best to enhance quality of life.

You can check out a message from the Government of Canada here. 

I can also share news from the many advances being made at Baycrest

What are YOU doing to recognize this disease and help people in your life, your clients, patients, residents and carers make the most of each day? Share your own stories here and help everyone increase awareness this month.

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Let’s all have a great 2018!

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.

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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.