January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and, to that end, Beth Jackson, co-ordinator outreach and education for Guysborough, Antigonish and Pictou counties, for the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, will be conducting a public session, Jan. 26, at the People’s Place Library.
Titled 10 Symptoms and Strategies, the session is described as a video discussion, with refreshments to follow, and will go from 6 to 7 p.m. in the library’s community room.
Linda Bird is the director of programs and services for the society and she talked about the message – ‘let us help you understand’ – they’ve adopted for this year’s awareness month.
“Often we think about people in the later stages of the disease, we don’t think about people in the early stages, and many people in the early stages are aware they have a diagnosis and can help educate us about what it’s like to live with the disease,” Bird said, in talking to the Casket Jan. 16.
“What they find helpful or hurtful living with the disease. Not everyone can, but those who can and are willing to share their private story with us; it’s a real gift that they can help educate the rest of us about what it’s like to live with the disease.”
Bird talked about the society making a “bigger push” in recent years to increase awareness.
“We’ve done some budgeting, have had some financial support from the government, all to try to create more awareness,” she said. “Ads in the paper, a couple of different TV commercials, through social media, just trying to increase public awareness so people understand what the symptoms are and where to go to for help, if they’re concerned about themselves or someone else.”
Bird noted the society adding to their resources to help people understand the disease and some avenues to deal with it, for themselves or a loved one.
“Our main goal here at the society is to provide information, education and support,” she said. “We do this through a number of different ways and we’re with people through the entire process of the disease.
“So, in the best case scenario, if people are worried about it; their own memory or someone in their family, or they just went to the doctor recently and had it diagnosed, if they connect with us we can help provide information as they go through this. Connect them to support groups, public presentations, specialized education series, and programs, perhaps, depending on where they’re living, for people living with the disease. Give them the knowledge they need, at the time, to help them live well and make informed decisions that best fit their particular family.”
For more on the Jan. 26 session coming up at the library, contact Jackson at [email protected] or at 902-867-7683.