Toronto, Ontario (PRWEB) June 27, 2014
While a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is devastating for anyone, language and cultural barriers add to the complexities of the disease. On the eve of the Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27), the Alzheimer Society of Ontario is pleased about two key initiatives that have been adapted for a variety of cultural and linguistic communities: Finding Your Way™, a program to prevent wandering incidents, and Shifting Focus: a guide to understanding dementia behaviour.
Finding Your Way™
Statistics show that three out of five people with dementia go missing at some point, often without warning. The Finding Your Way program is a safety awareness initiative to help caregivers and other family members prepare for such “wandering” incidents. Available in English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, Punjabi and Spanish, the program reminds caregivers that having a plan in place and knowing how to protect the individual is critical. There is greater risk of injury, even death, for those missing for more than 24 hours. Materials are available in these languages at http://www.findingyourwayontario.ca.
Shifting Focus: A Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviour
Shifting Focus is a tool to help the families and friends of people with dementia understand behaviour caused by the disease. Available in eight languages, the brochure is fast becoming a standard for dementia care. It was chosen as the “pick of the week” in the long-term care newsletter from the Crane Library at the University of Manitoba, and was the subject of a presentation at the 2014 Alzheimer's Disease International Conference in May 2014. Already, 17,000 copies have been distributed across Ontario. The brochure is available for purchase for a minimal $1 fee at http://www.dementiaresourcestore.ca.
The languages for these two initiatives were chosen based on population statistics in Ontario showing that approximately 251,400 Ontarians speak Italian, 178,400 speak Spanish, 148,000 speak Portuguese, 500,400 speak Chinese and 174,000 speak Punjabi.*
“While dementia is a difficult health issue in any family, cultural and linguistic factors can add an extra set of challenges in understanding and supporting people with dementia and their caregivers,” reminds David Harvey, Chief Public Policy and Program Initiatives Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. “Dementia is a challenge to society as a whole. Embracing inclusivity is the only way to provide effective services that meet the needs of our communities.”
Dementia strikes individuals regardless of culture, race, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location, socio-economic status or even age: dementia can occur in people as young as 40. With this understanding, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario will continue its efforts to develop inclusive programs and deliver relevant information.
*Population by Mother Tongue, by Province and Territory, excluding Institutional Residents (2011 Census) (New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario): Government of Canada, Statistics Canada