Alzheimer Society hosts Blueberry events to raise awareness
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
The Alzheimer Society of Kenora/Rainy River Districts (ASKRRD) hosted four interactive and fun, virtual Blueberry Festival events this year, aiming to offer a few activities aimed at seniors, while also spreading awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.
Client Services Coordinator for ASKRRD, Heidi Cote shared, “We decided to plan and facilitate the four virtual events this year to connect with community members while respecting COVID precautions. The Alzheimer Society of Kenora/Rainy River Districts has participated in the Home, Trade & Craft Show in previous years and we hoped to continue raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, provide education in a fun and interactive way but with a virtual presence because of COVID.”
“What we really wanted to do was just provide, sticking with the theme of Blueberry Festival, we know that it’s a fun event, it’s jam packed with fun activities. So we really tried to maintain the fun and exciting theme, but gear the activities towards seniors. Knowing that there was such a long time of people being isolated at home throughout this past year and a half, I really hoped to be able to spark some interest and even for seniors that don’t have dementia, really just help them connect with some ways that they can keep their brains sharp,” said Cote.
The four events that ASKRRD conducted were Brain Health - How to Keep Your Brain healthy, Activity House for Seniors- Neurobic Brain Exercises, Activity Hours for Seniors- Garden Grow Off!, and Understanding Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias.
Cote said that they just wanted to be a part of the festival and meet with the senior community members for activities, fun and some information exchange. She said that since they aimed at getting as many people to join as possible, they tried to pick days and time slots that best suited their potential participants.
Cote shared that the neurotic activities were to help seniors to cross train their brain. They involved the use of different scents to have some fun with different senses, with a bunch of other ideas that people could do on their own. Cote said that the Garden Grow-Off was another fun event where they asked people to send pictures of their gardens, perhaps one of the only activities that they may be doing during this time of COVID. “Our two evening presentations were more geared towards the community and providing information sessions to community members,” she added.
“We had to plan virtual because we really didn’t know what the restrictions were going to allow for when we were planning to do events for Blueberry Festival. So, we figured we’d better plan virtual so that we knew they could actually take place and without the risk of being cancelled,” said Cote.
Cote said, “Most people now, almost everyone knows someone who’s been impacted by dementia, or they know a family members who is a caregiver, so really it’s becoming so much more common to be affected by dementia, so the more we can keep reaching out and the more we can keep talking about dementia and how helping folks understand how to best support their loved one, the better it’s going to be for them and for the person with dementia. So, we really just keep trying to raise awareness and keep trying to promote education opportunities for the community.” She added, “There is quite an interest in learning about dementia in the community of Sioux Lookout. So, I think I want to try and reach out more throughout the year and do additional ongoing events.”
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, people can visit www.alzheimer.ca.