In 2011, 747,000 Canadians were living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias―that's 14.9 per cent of Canadians 65 and older. By 2031, this figure is expected to increase to 1.4 million.
Five days a week, people with Alzheimers and other dementias are warmly welcomed at The Salvation Army’s Adult Day program in London, Ont. “We are a happy group,” says 90-year-old Helen. “I like the singing here.”
Every day, Monday to Friday, more than 25 people come to the program for socialization, personal care and to participate in activities in a safe environment. “We bake cookies,” says Sharon, as she enjoys a cup of tea with friends. “And sometimes I get my nails done. I’m never tired of coming here.”
Margaret likes it when the bus comes to pick her up. “It’s not fun being home alone,” she says. “As long as I can be with other people, that’s all that matters.”
Participants may attend daily, a few times a week, weekly, or just for special activities.
“The program offers benefits to both people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and their caregivers,” says Major Debra Beaupre, Executive Director. “For caregivers, the program is a much needed respite that gives them a break to run errands, spend time with family or just get away from the stress of dealing with difficult behaviours.”
“Some people have forgotten how to comb their hair, cut fingernails or even take a bath,” says Michelle. “With encouragement and support we help them remain as independent as possible. We want to see families keep their loved ones at home as long as they can.”