A community seniors advocate has been chosen honouree for the Tri-Cities Ridge Meadows IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s fundraiser.
And, Heather Treleaven is using the spotlight to shine a light on the network’s Dementia-Friendly Community Task Group.
There is a stigma surrounding dementia and ageism, that all people who are older have memory loss, explained the coordinator of the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie Seniors Network.
However, this is simply not true, said Treleaven.
“Memory loss is not a normal part of aging. It’s a disease and there are things we can do to mitigate the impact so as soon as somebody is diagnosed and connected with supportive resources, the better their journey will be,” she explained.
And, the dementia-friendly task force is striving to eliminate the stigma to make the cities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows inclusive of people living with dementia.
Their plan includes educating community members, for example the city’s frontline staff who work out in the community, to recognize a person who is struggling or lost. Also, educating those who work in retail and community businesses so they can be more helpful and patient.
“Also working with organizations to encourage them to modify their volunteer positions so that people living with dementia can continue on being included and active in the community for as long as possible,” said Treleaven.
Often, she explained, a person diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s will feel ostracized from their friends and the community. A common complaint Treleaven hears from those diagnosed with the disease is that people stop calling them and inviting them out because they don’t know how to react or support them.
“I would like to see our community remain inclusive of people with dementia,” she said.
Treleaven is really proud of her dementia-friendly community task group and the work they are undertaking. It’s a very eclectic group of people, she said, including those with lived experience, care-givers, academic people working in the community, and seniors who have personal experience.
“They are what’s driving our work.”
Treleaven was chosen as honouree for this community because of her relentless passion over the past decade to make sure the voices of seniors and people living with dementia are heard. This includes Treleaven’s work facilitating community consultations, the sourcing of grant funding and connecting with funding partners to help build resources for a more age and dementia friendly community, explained a profile for the advocate on the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s website.
The Dementia-Friendly Community Task Group of the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie Seniors Network is hoping to raise $3,000 for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to support programs and services that improve quality of life for people living with dementia and their families in the community.
According to the Alzheimer Society, two-in-three British Columbians have personally known someone who is living with or who has lived with dementia.
“While our ultimate vision is a world without dementia, that vision begins with a world where people living with the disease are welcomed, acknowledged and included,” wrote Treleaven online.
Treleaven’s team will be meeting at Memorial Peace Park at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 15 for a socially distanced walk, in accordance with PHO restrictions surrounding COVID-19.
There will also be a socially-distanced walk on Saturday, May 29 at 11 a.m. in Pitt Meadows starting at Heritage Hall, 12460 Harris Road.
However, people can also participate by creating their own team for walking, yoga, cycling, kayaking, hiking, or dancing, any time during the month of May.
The IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s is Canada’s biggest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and will be taking place in more than 400 communities across the country. In 2020, Canadians participating in the Walk raised an amazing $5.1 million.
Funds will go toward local programs and services that improve quality of life for people living with dementia and their families – in your community – and support awareness and education about dementia.
The Alzheimer Society is a leading Canadian funder of dementia research. Since 1989, they have invested more than $59 million in biomedical and quality of life research through the Alzheimer Society Research Program.
The society’s mission is to raise public awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
To donate to Treleaven’s team go to alzgiving.ca.
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