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.


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!


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!

Caregiver Support in Dementia Care

Recently, the topic of caregiving has been grabbing some media attention. As the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s Rising Tide report concluded back in 2010 ( Rising Tide Report ) caregivers assume a great deal of the responsibility for dementia care and they need training as well as support.

A publication produced by Baycrest Health Sciences geared towards caregivers of persons with dementia has just been released. Dementia: A Caregiver’s Guide. Information and strategies for family and friends, is the third edition of this Canadian manual. Based on scientific literature, advice from professionals and feedback from clients and caregivers, this educational guide is designed to provide information and give practical tips and strategies to help those who care for someone with dementia.

Toronto Star columnist and seniors’ advocate Carol Goar, wrote a piece on Wednesday, Oct. 28th, in the Star’s Opinion/Commentary section. As well, Sylvia Davidson was interviewed by AM740 Radio host Dale Goldhawk on Thursday, Oct. 22nd.

Check out the links to these 2 media events: The Star: Carol Goar and Radio 740: Dale Goldhawk

Dementia in the News

You have probably heard the very interesting news last week, from The Lancet – Neurology. Researchers examining findings from a number of large studies looking at the occurrence of dementia, are suggesting that the normally gloomy predictions may not be entirely accurate, with a lower prevalence of dementia in 65 year olds than originally predicted, at least in some European countries. Here is a link to the update from the CBC news:

Dementia stabilized in Europe, studies suggest

The discussions about how much faith to put in this announcement have only begun, with most experts suggesting that there must be further study. However, without a doubt, for those of us who have consistently tried to promote increased education and improved awareness, this is positive news. I know that all of you struggle with the challenges this illness presents to older adults, working against the stigma that many associate with dementia. With this news, we may begin to see greater focus on health promotion efforts targeting brain health. This would be a welcome addition to the continued emphasis on pharmaceuticals. Kudos to everyone who has been calling attention to this! Your efforts are not in vain.

And as I reflect on the ongoing work that so many do in the field of dementia care, I am also reflecting, at the moment, on our summer months drawing to a close. While we try and make the most of the remaining days in August, many are gearing up for the fall. September marks many things; back to school, fall fairs, High Holidays. But September is also World Alzheimer’s Month; an opportunity to promote awareness of dementia, with a focus on Alzheimer’s Disease, around the world. September 21st is one day during the month, that is recognized as World Alzheimer’s Day, with many exciting events happening. I am very proud to be a part of this year’s recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day at Mount Sinai Hospital, in Toronto. Sponsored by The Cyril & Dorothy, Joel & Jill Reitman Centre for Alzheimer’s Support and Training, this will be an education event for carers and health professionals. Here are the details: Alzheimer Flyer – FINAL

What might you be doing on September 21st, to mark this important day? Let us know! We want to hear from you; every voice matters, every voice counts!

The Globe and Mail – Investigative Series on changes to the homecare system in Ontario for older adults

Have a read of these recent articles in the Globe and Mail on the topic of changes to homecare services in Ontario for older adults.



Alzheimer’s researchers intrigued by U of A study of possible saliva test

EDMONTON – A new University of Alberta research study suggests testing saliva could predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s too early to say and more research is required, said lead author Shraddha Sapkota, but initial findings are promising.

Find out more at: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Alzheimer+researchers+intrigued+study+possible+saliva+test/11227049/story.html

Demand a Plan

CAOT has joined the Canadian Medical Association for the Demand a Plan Call for a National Seniors Strategy.  Canadian Seniors are not getting the health care they need.  We can add our voices to encourage the government to create a National Strategy for Seniors.

For more information and to sign up, visit:  http://www.demandaplan.ca/