Today, local MPP Ross Romano announced, on behalf of Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho, funding in the amount of $600,000 to the Alzheimers Society of Ontario to help chapters across the province deliver the Finding Your Way program.
This program is a multicultural wandering prevention program which provides practical tools and advice for individuals, caregivers and the community to recognize and reduce the risk of someone with dementia wandering and going missing, while supporting a quick, safe return should an incident occur.
This new funding will help to locate missing seniors living with dementia by working with police to promote Finding Your Way program resources in their communities, and by delivering seminars for individuals, caregivers and front line officers that educate and promote awareness.
“The goal is to ensure that this funding is there to help families recognize the risks of dementia, recognize the signs of what to look for and try to ensure that there are supports in place to make sure that those living with dementia can do so safely and through communities,” Romano said in a media scrum.
“It’s an important issue, we know that we have in the province somewhere in the range of 240,000 suffering with dementia, here in Algoma we know that the Alzheimer’s Society here services 2,900 diagnosed patients suffering with dementia here in our community alone… it’s ensuring that we can get those supports out to those individuals, but more so than that, I think it’s also important to raise awareness, make sure we get the message out there so that those people who we’re concerned may be suffering can get to a diagnosis sooner so they can get access to the supports, they can get access to the centres within their communities, places like the Alzheimer’s Society chapter here in Sault Ste. Marie.”
Out of the 2,900 diagnosed cases in the Sault, 60 per cent are at risk of wandering.
Terry Caporossi, Executive Director for the Alzheimer’s Society of Sault Ste. Marie, said programs like this and funding for them are imperative to ensure the community is getting adequate support and education.
“It’s important, particularly with the increase in number of people we see coming to the Alzheimer’s Society (on an annual basis),” he said.
“For those at risk of wandering, it could be very serious, and in order for us to continue to provide the education and support, funding like this is very important.”