Illustrating Dementia Friendliness


“The real-life examples of dementia friendliness in action were moving, thought provoking, and they have really stuck with me.”

The front view of the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery

The entrance to the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery of Yorkton.

On November 14th, the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery of Yorkton hosted its first dementia friendly event – a special reception as part of the Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan project where guests were treated to an afternoon of art, storytelling, and community building. The reception included a guided tour of the exhibit Flower People, as well as presentations from our Dementia Community Coordinator, Jackie Hofstrand, and Jeff Morton, Director and Curator of the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery.

What made this reception special?

Thirteen people attended the event, including two couples with lived experience with dementia. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about supports and services the Alzheimer Society offers in their area, as well as steps that some businesses in Yorkton, Melville, and the surrounding communities are taking to become more dementia friendly. After hearing about the relationships Jackie has built with several local organizations, including Esterhazy Pharmasave’s interest in hosting a dementia-focused staff training event, guests engaged in a discussion with Jackie around how to make their own neighbourhoods more dementia friendly. Several attendees also requested Alzheimer Society resources and toolkits to take back to their social circles.  

“The video in Jackie’s presentation was eye-opening for me (and I think for others) to see the world through the eyes of a person living with dementia and how small and simple things can make a difference in a person’s life. I took some of the pamphlets and flyers and shared them with a family with lived experience the next day. Their care partner appreciated the resources very much!”

Akram Mahani, Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit 

Guests also got an exclusive look at Godfrey Dean Art Gallery’s upcoming project, Belong Where You Find Yourself, which will use a variety of art mediums to highlight the voices of people living with dementia, as well as voices of family members, caregivers, and care partners impacted by dementia. One gentleman who attended the reception spoke about how he feels the Belong Where You Find Yourself project will help him regain some of his confidence, as he has been reluctant to create art since being diagnosed with dementia. Participants of the art project can remain anonymous if they wish. If you are interested in learning more about Godfrey Dean Art Gallery’s Belong Where You Find Yourself project, please contact the gallery directly at 306-786-2992.

Furthermore, the reception provided an opportunity for dementia advocates and supporters to connect. Several stakeholders and collaborating organizations for the Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan project were in attendance, along with our First Link Coordinator, Irene Cymbalisty, who primarily serves clients in the former Sunrise Health region. For those who want to learn more about the services and programs that Irene can help connect you to, please see our website.

What made the event “dementia friendly?”

In the months leading up to the reception, Jackie consulted with Jeff from the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery to offer some simple suggestions as to how to make the event and gallery space more inclusive and accessible for people living with dementia. Jeff and his team then worked to incorporate those suggestions for the day of, which included: 

  • Volunteers on hand to assist guests and help them navigate the gallery space
  • Extra signage placed at eye level for easier visual referencing
  • Dimmed lights and glare reduction where possible
  • Having the accessible elevator open throughout the duration of the event
  • Designated areas where people could rest if/when needed

Feedback from attendees was that the dementia friendly considerations helped contribute to the overall success of the event.

“It was a great Sunday afternoon – a great reason to get out of the house and a comfortable, supportive environment.”

–Event Attendee

The Alzheimer Society would like to acknowledge that the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery is a leader in creating inclusive spaces. They were able to instill a sense of community within the special reception and, when it comes to dementia, community changes everything. We hope more people and organizations will be inspired to connect with us to learn how they can contribute to a more dementia friendly Saskatchewan.

Attendees in front of the Alzheimer Society table at the reception

Our Dementia Community Coordinator, Jackie, pictured with Jeff Morton of Godfrey Dean Art Gallery and Akram Mahani from Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit. 

If you have questions about how you can become more dementia friendly, or for more information on the Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan project, please contact:  

Jackie Hofstrand
Dementia Community Coordinator
Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan
(306) 783-6606

[email protected] 

Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan is led by the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) at the University of Regina and is funded by the Government of Canada. 

Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan Partner Logos