OMNI homes show their support for Alzheimer’s awareness


Homes and staff members raise money for Alzheimer Society, awareness throughout January

January was Alzheimer Awareness Month, and OMNI Health Care homes showed their support by raising awareness of this neurodegenerative disease as well as raised money to support the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

For those working in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes, raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease is important because it’s an affliction affecting many residents.

Streamway Villa had planned a Coffee Break fundraiser in January, however, an outbreak put a damper on organizing the event. Instead, the home organized a simple fundraiser where staff members could donate in the staff room.

“(The Alzheimer Society) is my No. 1 charity to donate to,” says life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Christina Verleysen, adding that about 90 per cent of the 59-bed long-term care home’s residents are affected by some form of cognitive impairment.

Pleasant Meadow Manor LEC Chris Garden participated in Peterborough’s Walk for Memories for the first time Jan. 31. Several of her OMNI colleagues sponsored her walk, which she says demonstrates their commitment to enhancing the lives of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

“I think that’s awesome,” she says of their support. “In long-term care, 80 per cent of our population is dealing with some type of dementia.”

At a recent family council meeting at Burnbrae Gardens, residents’ families looked into ways to address their loved ones who have Alzheimer’s disease. The subject of Alzheimer’s disease came up at the meeting and it initiated conversations about how to improve visitations for those affected by dementia, the home’s administrator/LEC April Faux says.

For instance, the family members were discussing what to do when they leave the home after a visit – and their loved ones want to go home with them. One family member said their loved one would phone them to ask when someone was coming to take them home.

When they asked how to address that situation, another family member suggested they tell their loved one that they will bring them home eventually – as opposed to saying they’re not coming home.

“It was good to see the focus of the meeting, that it was turning into a support group,” Faux says.

The Alzheimer Society estimates 747,000 Canadians – many of whom live in long-term care homes – have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and the number is expected to climb to 1.4 million by 2031.

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