The Drumheller Community Seniors Coalition Team; Image courtesy of Kim Larsen
Some positive news for those families that are living with dementia in the Drumheller Valley.
A relatively new group, the Drumheller Community Seniors Coalition, has been working very hard to bring programs and services to the Drumheller Valley supporting people living with dementia, families, support people, and those at risk of isolation or without a social support network. The “Coalition” applied for a grant through the Rural Development Network to bring Memory Café to Drumheller. Kim Larsen, a Community Recreation Therapist with Alberta Health Services in Drumheller, shares the details of Memory Café. “Memory Cafe is a program that is designed to be friendly and welcoming. To provide social interaction, support, and activities, for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Our hope is that it will bring people together that have similar living situations so they can enjoy the comradery of others who understand what it’s like to live with dementia, or to be in the caregiving role.”
Involved in the Drumheller Community Seniors Coalition are Kim Larsen and Lisa Orton with AHS, Amanda Panisiak with the Primary Care Network, and Liza Trohan, Senior Outreach Nurse with AHS.
There are numerous benefits to those who attend Memory Café according to Larsen. “We have found that there is not a lot of opportunity for people living with dementia, and their caregivers, to participate in activities where that supportive environment is provided. Because everyone coming to the program will be in a similar situation, that risk of stigma is gone. Our hope is that they are able to form friendships and that they’ll look forward to coming to this program every month.”
The program has partnered with the Homestead Museum so that they will be able to use some items to spur on the conversation. Larsen also shares that with the funding received by the grant, $5,000, they may be able to go on outings to other locations in our community, like the Royal Tyrrell Museum, or even bring in entertainment to the monthly meeting.
If you are interested in being involved or would like more information on the program, contact either Kim Larsen or Lisa Orton, who are both AHS Community Recreation Therapists by phone at 403-820-7297. The venues for the meetings are yet to be confirmed.