Remember Me is an information series for children ages 7-13 who are personally affected by someone in their family or someone close to them living with dementia. The series includes an overview of dementia, learning about how the brain works, memory & sensory games, learning communication tips when speaking with a person with dementia and creation of a Memory Box.
Remember Me is sponsored by the Woodstock branch of CIBC Wood Gundy.
Remember Me will be taking place in July 2021. Because of COVID-19, it will be offered via Zoom.
Pre-registration is necessary.
Please contact Dana Fallowfield-Adams, Education Coordinator, at 519-421-2466 or email [email protected] for more information.
Meet the McMahon Family who Benefited from Remember Me
The Alzheimer Society of Oxford’s innovative Remember Me program is getting a ringing endorsement from a Woodstock family directly affected by dementia.
Mike McMahon, whose father Mike Sr. was diagnosed with early-stage dementia in November 2018, said their children received a great deal of vitally important information during the one-day program.
“This was so useful for them,” he said. “As much as I’d like to give them my impressions of dementia and what life can be like with a family member who is suffering from it, a much more accurate picture was presented by skilled, trained people who know just how to deliver the real story.
“They have the expertise to deliver it in such a way to ensure the information gets out in a very understandable fashion to those who need to know what this is all about. Our children certainly enjoyed every aspect of how the program was presented,”
Presenters provide the children information on how they can talk to those with dementia, suggest activities that can be done together and have a discussion about how the disease affects the family. Presented in an educational and entertaining way, the day includes movies, games, crafts and stories to ensure there is fun along with learning.
Mike’s wife Kris was pleased to learn more about the program when she initially contacted the Alzheimer Society of Oxford about registration.
“Everyone with the Society was so very friendly, welcoming our children and extending a warm greeting to all of us,” she said. “Our kids really enjoyed the program because it was both educational and informative, delivered spot-on aimed right at their level of fun.
“They had a great time with physical activities in the gym. Most of the McMahon cousins joined us so it seemed we took up most of the seats. They came home, able to have comfortable conversations about what dementia looked like and what they can do when talking to those with it.”
Mike added it wasn’t just about their children being taught and then simply regurgitating information as if they had just attended a formal class on a new subject.
“I actually learned quite a lot from them because they came home and were talking knowledgably about things concerning dementia that I certainly didn’t know about. We found out about this event during the first few months after dad was diagnosed so we were all eager to attend.”
Mike and Kris said their children were essentially “confronting the unknown” in a very determined and positive fashion with new knowledge to tackle a very new challenge the whole family was confronting.
“I really like this approach of dealing with this subject,” said son Shannon. “There were many activities and visual items to explore so it was a great day. I thought it was educational as well as being fun.”
Younger sister Leona was equally impressed by the unique program.
“It was fun and we had a few laughs with things that were both funny and sad,” she said. “I learned a lot from a lady who was talking to us and also enjoyed a video. There was an explanation of what is happening in the brain.
“I think about grandpa. The last time I was there I gave grandma a GM sticker and grandpa a GP sticker. She said she was the General Manager and he told me he was the General Pooper Scooper. When we visit, he is so easy to talk with and just loves talking.”
When Kris asked Shannon and Leona whether they had super fun at Remember Me, both children shouted out an enthusiastic yes to the question. She said those who developed and presented the program had the tools and the toolbox so it was a positive day for everyone.
“The day was full and everyone there was so friendly,” said Kris. “They gave children some do’s and don’ts. It’s all about communicating and growing that wonderful circle of community. We’re so happy we can talk and feel very comfortable with grandpa Mike as he loves chatting with people. It’s the kind of feeling you get at the annual Walk for Alzheimer’s, that very real sense we are building and maintaining this helpful community.”
Echoing those sentiments, Mike said they are relieved that they no longer feel it’s necessary to whisper about the subject of dementia and what needs to be done by the family.
“We can talk more openly about dementia when the children are around us,” he said. “There is a better level of comfort now. Dementia has been stigmatized for too long but now we can discuss it more openly not whisper about it in a corner somewhere like some did 20 years or more ago.
“Thanks to Remember Me, communication in the open is healthier for everyone in the family. We learned how all of us can be on grandpa’s team in so many wonderful and different ways.”
Meanwhile Mike Sr., who turns 73 this August, continues to enjoy many Alzheimer Society of Oxford activities with his loving wife Ruth, particularly Minds in Motion, the innovative program designed to provide physical activity and brain stimulation for those with mild cognitive impairment and early to mid-stage dementia and their care partners.
The Woodstock branch of CIBC Wood Gundy is proud to support the Remember Me program of the Alzheimer Society of Oxford.
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Just for the Summer
This is another program available for grade 6 and high school students around Oxford County. In a one hour presentation, you’ll learn about Alzheimer’s disease and how it affects a person, watch a video and have some time at the end to ask questions.
Forget-You-Not is a program offered for teens ages fourteen to nineteen who have someone in their family or a friend with dementia. The program offers an opportunity to meet others in the same situation and share some of your experiences and feelings. During the program, you will be given information about:
- how the disease affects the brain
- common behaviours related to Alzheimer's disease or other dementias
- how to communicate with the person who has dementia
- appropriate activities to share with your relative
- creating and keeping a safe environment for the person with the disease
- how the disease affects the whole family
- the importance of taking time for yourself to have fun
- care facilities and what to expect when a family member needs this type of care
A variety of teaching methods will be utilized, including videos, discussions, simulation exercises, role-playing and crafts, as well as lessons delivered by the instructors.