At the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, we’re on a mission to create more dementia friendly communities across the province. But we couldn’t do it without the interest and support from local businesses, organizations, social clubs, and shared interest groups. They are central to community members’ quality of life and can provide opportunities for people to better engage within their community.
Here are a few examples of what organizations and groups in Yorkton, Melville, and the surrounding areas are doing to become more inclusive, accessible, and welcoming for people living with dementia and their care partners.
Melville – Caleb Village Seniors Home
This spring, we received an invitation to facilitate a learning session at Caleb Village, a 60-unit independent living community in Melville. Brent Fraser, the General Manager of Caleb Village, said he recognizes the importance of education and awareness around dementia because, from his experience, where residents currently live is where they want to keep living as they age.
During the learning session, which was held in April, our Dementia Community Coordinator, Jackie Hofstrand, shared information about the warning signs of dementia and our First Link Coordinator, Carolee Zorn, discussed the Alzheimer Society’s First Link Program and how she can support people living with dementia and their care partners. Many residents, along with Caleb Village staff and committee members attended the event.
After the presentation, Jackie walked through the building’s recreational space and dining area with representatives from Caleb Village to discuss how to make their programming and common areas more dementia friendly. Jackie commended the staff for already having large and legible signage in place to make the complex easier to navigate for residents and their care partners. When touring the kitchen facilities, some of the kitchen staff engaged in a discussion with Jackie around how to enhance social interactions with residents who may be experiencing cognitive decline.
Jackie was invited back to attend Caleb Village’s Health and Wellness Fair on April 27th. It was an opportunity for her to share information and resources with other agencies and local clubs who serve older adults in the area, and to talk about the Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan project, including its two newest initiatives - the Cognitive Kitchen Program and the RADAR Memory Clinics that will soon be in Esterhazy and Yorkton.
The Canadian Federation of University Women – Yorkton Chapter
With a strategy that’s focused around promoting the health of their members and having heard that females are affected far more by dementia than men, the Yorkton Chapter for the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) reached out to the Alzheimer Society to inquire about educational opportunities. They decided to organize a community event for our Dementia Community Coordinator to deliver our ABC’s of Dementia presentation for their members and the public.
On May 3rd, over 20 people – two of which drove in from Canora – attended the community presentation to learn more about the warning signs of dementia and how to support someone living with the disease. Many attendees were surprised to learn about the increasing number of people developing dementia in our province and took our Alzheimer Society tip sheets and other resources. We were also able to refer one of the event attendees to Carolee Zorn, our First Link Coordinator for Yorkton, Melville, and area, who can provide information and support to people living with dementia, their families, and other care partners.
Following the event, we submitted an information package to the Canadian Federation of University Women – Yorkton Chapter about our dementia friendly initiatives in the area and the Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan project, which the Yorkton Chapter will share with their national counterpart to aid with knowledge transfer.
Fisher Court Independent Living Centre
On May 29th, we shared our ABC’s of Dementia presentation with another senior’s independent living community – Fisher Court in Yorkton. A person from every residence in the building attended, many of which had a family member or care partner present with them. Many attendees asked questions around getting a diagnosis, and our Dementia Community Coordinator was able to provide guests with information about our First Link Program for additional support and resources.
Following the presentation, the President and a Board member from Fisher Court invited our Dementia Community Coordinator to tour common areas in the facility to provide suggestions as to how they could enhance the accessibility for people affected by dementia. Because the facility offers many communal events for its residents, such as bingo nights, our Dementia Community Coordinator also shared some considerations around event planning and how to make gatherings and activities more inclusive for people who may be experiencing cognitive decline.
Parkland Valley Sport, Culture and Recreation District Municipality Meeting
As part of Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan, the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan is working in cooperation with Parkland Valley Sport, Culture and Recreation District on the new initiative: Friendly Communities Healthier People. This project is aimed at engaging rural recreational facilities and community centres in Yorkton, Melville, and the surrounding communities around dementia and dementia friendly programming.
Parkland Valley Sport, Culture and Recreation District invited us to their annual Municipality Meeting in Yorkton in May to launch our new Dementia Friendly Community Recreation Guide. Recreation Directors from around the Parkland Valley District, along with representatives from the City of Yorkton, Yorkton Tribal Council, and the East Central Newcomer Centre in Yorkton were in attendance, and all received copies of the guide to support dementia friendly considerations for their local programs and services. The group reviewed the guide along with examples of what other clubs and organizations in the area have done to support people living with dementia be more engaged and feel more welcomed.
Or, to discuss getting your community/recreation centre involved, please contact:
Jackie Hofstrand, BSc.
Dementia Community Coordinator
Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan
122-345 Broadway St. W Yorkton S3N 1N8
About Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan:
Over the past three years, the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan has been partnering with the University of Regina in a project called Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan (DSRS). The project is focused on increasing the social inclusion of people living with dementia in rural communities. The project area is centred around Yorkton, Melville, and the surrounding rural communities.
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.