FINDING Your Way Community Meeting (Alzheimer Society)

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From Left to Right: Janice Seppala, Elizabeth Priddle, Sgt. Keith Nicolle

On Friday, 60 people from the public and community organizations filled a room at the Grand Gardens North for the Finding Your Way community meeting. The event presented by the Alzheimer Society of Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District. The Alzheimer Society’s Janice Seppala RSSW hosted the event. She is the Public Education Coordinator.

The event’s purpose was to assist caregivers and others to help people with Alzheimer’s and dementia live safely in the community. Because of the shortage of long-term beds, it is impossible to put everyone who needs to be in an Alzheimer’s and dementia long-term care facility.

There were educational sessions on:

  • Understanding Dementia
  • Communicating with a Person with Dementia
  • Helping People with Dementia Live Safely
  • What Local Efforts are Underway to Help?
  • Interacting with a Person with Dementia Who May Be Lost

Elizabeth Priddle and Christina Bott shared caregiver stories on how difficult it can be to keep loved ones safe while they suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Dave Rowlinson, Project Lifesaver, gave a demonstration on their technology to find missing persons in the Sault. 

Sgt. Keith Nicolle from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Emergency Response Team showed several search and rescue operations that used helicopters to find the missing person. The technology the OPP utilize to find a person is incredible.

People suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia frequently taken advantage of by fraud and abuse. It can come in many forms such as financial, physical, and psychological. 

A story was shared about a young man who went with a senior lady to a bank machine and emptied her account. The incident caught on the ATM’s video surveillance. The young man kept going to her house for more money and she gave him stuff from the house. One day, the son was there and pushed him down the stairs trying to get him to leave. The police became involved. The young man did not charge the son with assault. However, the young man could not be charged with anything because the senior lady voluntarily gave him money. It was morally and ethically wrong what that young man did but not criminal.

Different safety issues can arise. For example, mouldy food in the fridge and getting lost driving.

There is tremendous pressure on caregivers. If you need help, contact the Alzheimer Society of Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District at (705) 942-2195 or info@alzheimeralgoma.org

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