When community members seek out and create experiences for other residents to increase their awareness about local issues, change can happen. Andrea Veregen, a Kamsack resident and the Director of Kamsack’s SIGN Family Centre, connected with the Alzheimer Society about leading a dementia friendly discussion in her community. Having a personal connection to dementia, Andrea felt it was important to help other families in the area by showing them their home community is interested in becoming more supportive to those affected by dementia.
Andrea and the SIGN Family Centre teamed up with Kamsack Public Library to organize and host a dementia friendly conversation on June 27th. And, thanks to their local promotional efforts, representatives from a variety of local businesses and organizations, including the Honourable Mayor Nancy Brunt, attended the event.
After hearing about another partnership the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan has with Conexus Credit Union, the Manager of Kamsack’s TD Bank was inspired to join the conversation to learn more about how their branch could become more dementia friendly. A representative from Kamsack Family Pharmacy was also in attendance and graciously accepted our Dementia Friendly Toolkit for Pharmacies to take back and share with her team.
Rod and Vi Gardner, a well-known Kamsack couple with lived experience with dementia who are involved in several Dementia Supports in Rural Saskatchewan initiatives, spoke about the importance of community during the event. Rod noted the importance of having programs to support people affected by dementia in rural Saskatchewan. Through attending the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan’s virtual Coffee and Chat group, he and Vi were able to meet another couple from the area with experience with dementia they now get together in-person. Rod also shared examples of stigma he and his wife have encountered and ideas of how things may be improved in the community.
During the conversation, the group was encouraged to ask questions they had about dementia and to discuss opportunities and barriers that may exist in the community. Our Dementia Community Coordinator also highlighted pictures and examples of dementia friendly work that’s already underway in surrounding rural communities, including Springside, Saltcoats, Yorkton, and Melville. Attendees were happy to see local success stories reflected back to them.
“I find it so good seeing what places I have actually been in are doing and hearing how they help people living with dementia.”
- Kamsack Family Pharmacy representative
Attendees were all provided with additional resources around dementia friendly communities following the conversation. We will continue to support our connections in Kamsack as they learn more about dementia friendliness and work to incorporate more dementia friendly considerations into their environments.
We thank Andrea Veregen for her community leadership and recognize the SIGN Family Centre and Kamsack Public Library for their dedication to helping raise awareness to dementia in their community.
If you would like to learn more about the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan’s dementia friendly initiatives in Yorkton, Melville, and the surrounding rural communities, please contact:
Dementia Community Coordinator
Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan
Phone (306) 783-6606 or toll free 1-800-263-3367 (SK only)
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.