The provincial government is pitching in just under $600,000 to help the Alzheimer Society of Ontario’s “Finding Your Way” program.
“It’s certainly an exciting time,” says Executive Director for Alzheimer’s Society of Hastings and Prince Edward Maureen Corrigan. She explains that they are a part of a federation along with 29 other societies. “When money is given to one body, they filter it down to us,” she says.
The program “helps people living with dementia, their families, caregivers and communities to recognize the risk of going missing, be prepared for incidents of going missing, and ensure that people with dementia can live safely in the community,” as explained on the society’s website. Corrigan says over 1,500 people were trained in the province thanks to workshops made possible by the program.
Locally, the society has partnered with four OPP detachments – including Bancroft’s – with their “Project Lifesaver” program. “We can to want people to live well with dementia and safely in their communtity,” Corrigan says. The “First Link Navigator” program is also used extensively locally, Corrigan explains, with over 650 referrals coming from primary care to the society last year. “We’re up over 40-percent with new referrals,” she explains.
“Statistically speaking it’s 1 in 10 (that are diagnosed with dementia) over the age of 65, and that number increases to 2 in 10 over 80,” she explains. Corrigan adds that to visit them you don’t need a formal diagnosis. You could have memory concerns and want to get checked out.
The provincial government points out that an estimated 240,000 seniors are living with dementia in Ontario. 60 percent will go missing at some point.