Monique Watford and Lori Russell of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Susan Traini of the Dryden Area Family Health (DAFH)Team spoke to Dryden, Rotary about dementia, and the  importance of building a dementia-friendly community.
Triani, Watford and Russell explained that dementia is not a disease, but rather a group of symptoms. They described how some people who have been diagnosed could present as being confused, intoxicated, have an odd mood or behaviour, or changes in judgment. For example they shared an incident where a man was Tasered by police because he presented as being resistant
to assistance from the police.
Monique and Lori shared the following facts:
  • 200,000 people are living with dementia in Ontario today
  • that figure is expected to rise by 31% by 2020
  • one in seven new cases are diagnosed before the age of 65.
With these figures and the increasing age of the residents of Dryden, there is a need for a dementia friendly community program here. There are many models that have been successful in other communities. One is the "Blue Umbrella Program" in Bobcaygeon, Ontario. There staff at local businesses are trained on how to interact with someone who has dementia.
Watford and Russell encouraged our club to get involved in an initiative to help make Dryden more accessible to those afflicted with dementia. The Canadian Mental Health Association has many programs which can assistant a community to develop such a program.