Finding Community After a Diagnosis


Dianne McLeod, a volunteer support group facilitator with the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, shares her family's experiences with dementia and how support from the Alzheimer Society helped her and her husband live well with the disease.

Between your morning coffee and lunch hour, someone else in our province will develop dementia.

I hope you will take the time to read the story of Dianne McLeod – one of our volunteer support group facilitators. Dementia has impacted Dianne’s family in numerous ways, and she shares how support from the Alzheimer Society helped her and her husband live well with the disease.

We know that many more families in Saskatchewan will be impacted by dementia as our population ages. It’s important that families know that they don’t have to face this disease on their own. I am asking you to make a donation, today, so the Alzheimer Society can be there to help families when they reach out for information and support.

Donate online

Or, call our Provincial Office at 1-800-263-3367.

Joanne Bracken, CEO – Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan


My husband, Doug, was a dedicated farmer.

Near the end of his career, he started having to write down his daily tasks and chores, even though they had been second nature for him for years. He’d plan out his day and then would have to keep checking on himself to see if he did what he thought he was going to do.

That was the beginning of our dementia journey together.

In 2014, Doug was in the hospital – he was very sick. When he finally got out, he told me he felt that he wasn’t thinking very well. He had just started some new medications, and the medical staff said to give it time.

So, we gave it time, but he didn’t get any better. Instead, he got progressively worse.

Eventually we moved off the farm and into town, so we could have a little more control over where he was and what he was doing.

My sister was involved with the Alzheimer Society a few years back when her husband developed dementia and we had attended some of their programs at that time. So, we reached out to the Alzheimer Society for the information they had about supporting people living with dementia.

When Doug was first diagnosed, we did the Alzheimer Society’s First Steps Learning Series. At first, Doug didn’t think he wanted to do it, but I said, “Well, just come and see.” After the first session, he asked, “When’s the next one?”

He found it interesting to be with people who were struggling like him and to get coping strategies to help him be more independent.

It’s a pretty tough journey to take when you lose your independence.

The strategies we gained from the Alzheimer Society helped us a lot. And, because we had them, I think we lived fairly well. With information, you learn how to cope with what you’re dealing with. And you don’t always do it perfectly, but you try.

I truly believe people with dementia know what’s happening to them, even if they can’t verbalize it. Or, they feel what’s happening to them, and that’s why I think strategies for coping are key.

Any illness can be a lonely journey. I think we all make judgements and then maybe we think there’s nothing we can really do, so we stay away. When Doug was able to be around people who were experiencing a similar situation, it was really good. And the Alzheimer Society facilitates that - a community.

I know that the community the Alzheimer Society creates helps a lot of us in our day-to-day life.

You can get involved with the Alzheimer Society and do as little or as much as you want. I encourage you to connect with them to learn more about what they can do for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and their care partners.

And, most importantly, I would ask everyone to please practice kindness. I think if we can learn to be kind and non-judgmental to people living with dementia, life can be so much more enriching for everyone.

Dianne McLeod

As the CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, I am asking you to make a donation today in support of our vital programs, services, and research efforts.

Donate online

Or, call our Provincial Office at 1-800-263-3367.

Please make your donation today. Support changes everything for people living with dementia and their care partners.


Joanne Bracken
Chief Executive Officer