People from all corners of Victoria share their personal connection to dementia at Breakfast to Remember
When Annemarie and Geoff Travers decided to honour a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease and raise funds to support other people affected dementia, they did it in a way that reflected the long and arduous journey people impacted by the disease often travel. Between September 21 – World Alzheimer’s day – and November 12, 2018, the Victoria couple trekked 900 kilometres from Montpellier, France to Lagrono, Spain. Geoff then carried on a further 600 kilometers to Santiago de Compostela. It was an experience that helped break down stigma surrounding dementia, raised more than $12,000 for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and ultimately revealed parallels between taking on a physical and emotional challenge in a foreign environment and living with dementia.
Geoff and Annemarie were inspired by their family’s experiences of the disease. Geoff’s sister Kathy lives with dementia, and her journey motivated Geoff and Annemarie to connect with the Society, first for education, then to support other people – Annemarie is a volunteer facilitator for a caregiver support group – and eventually committing to the Camino for Alzheimer’s Awareness, which they chronicled on their blog, accessed here. One of the more remarkable parts of their journey was that Kathy joined them for five days of walking and while doing so shared her insights of what it is like to live with dementia.
For Geoff and Annemarie, the Camino for Alzheimer’s Awareness reinforced the importance of being open about one’s experience with dementia in order to change that experience. “It’s best if you talk about it,” Annemarie says. “Understanding the challenges, being open about them and talking with others is the best way to deal with them.”
On Tuesday, February 26, at Breakfast to Remember, presented by Trillium Boutique Senior Living, Geoff and Annemarie will share highlights from their powerful journey, including the time Kathy spent walking along beside them. Constable Andrea Toombs, Crime Prevention Officer, Community Engagement Division, Saanich Police, will join Geoff and Annemarie to speak about her creation of “Policing for an Ageing Population” training sessions aimed at equipping police officers with the knowledge and skills they need to support and respond to people living with dementia. Andrea coordinated the inaugural training sessions presented to all active patrol members at the Saanich Police Department. Tomiko Yoneda, a former Alzheimer Society of B.C. First Link® Dementia Helpline volunteer and current Alzheimer Society Research Program funding recipient will round out the morning’s talks when she shares insights from her research into improving early screening assessments and treatments for dementia.
Breakfast to Remember, presented by Trillium Boutique Senior Living, is an opportunity for people from across sectors in Victoria to help mobilize a community of care around the estimated 70,000 people living with dementia in B.C. and their families. To learn more about the event, which runs from 7 – 9 a.m. at the Victoria Conference Centre, or to buy tickets, visit www.breakfasttoremember.ca.