Browsed by
Tag: Finding Your Way

Finding Your Way through the winter season: tips for staying safe with dementia

Finding Your Way through the winter season: tips for staying safe with dementia

Stay safe this winter with these helpful tips!

Winter is on its way, bringing with it snow, sleigh bells, and a renewed importance around being safe in our homes and communities. To prepare, we’re putting snow tires on our cars, pulling winter boots out of storage, and stocking up on salt for our sidewalks and driveways – but for people with dementia, those safety steps go a bit further.

If you’re living with dementia or helping to care for someone with dementia, here are some important factors to maintain safety in your community through the winter.

 

Clothing

Proper clothing is one of our first levels of protection in inclement weather – so be sure to pull the sweaters, winter coats, boots, hats, scarves, and mitts out of storage so that season-appropriate clothing is close at hand. Footwear considerations are extremely important – find boots with good grip, that are well-insulated, and with velcro instead of laces for ease. For those items like hats and mitts that seem to disappear, purchase a few extras so that you’re never without. It’s a good idea to buy clothing items that are brightly coloured or distinctive in some way – if someone with dementia gets lost, it will help as an identifying marker.

If you see someone in the community this winter who isn’t dressed properly for the weather, they may need assistance. Visit our Finding Your WayⓇ website to learn how to help someone with dementia who may be lost.

 

Sundowning

Sundowning refers to the time period – usually later in the day – when confusion and agitation increase for people with dementia. With less sunlight and shorter days during the winter months, sundowning can be exacerbated, but there are ways to help ward it off.

Keep curtains open as much as possible during the day to let in sunlight. Turn lights on in the home earlier in the evening, and consider purchasing a special light box to provide specialized light therapy. If applicable, ensure that outdoor walkways around the home are well-lit, and consider adding motion-detected lights outside. Remember that people with dementia often have issues with visual perception, so helping to keep homes well-lit indoors and out is extremely important.

 

When Outside

  • Dress appropriately for the weather
  • Use handrails to walk up and down steps, when available
  • Step carefully into snow – snow drifts can hide uneven surfaces
  • Avoid or walk carefully on unsalted areas – shadowed areas can still be icy even if temperatures are above 0 degrees
  • Consider purchasing a walking aid to help with balance while walking during the winter

 

Inside The Home

  • Keep heat at a comfortable level
  • Be sure that space/electric heaters are checked regularly, and do not place them in areas where someone can trip over them
  • Make sure the phones are connected properly and cell phones are charged well to maintain communication
  • Keep wet boots on heavy duty mats to avoid slipping in puddles – but make sure all mats lay flat to avoid tripping hazards
  • Don’t spend too much time indoors – when it’s safe, take some time to get some fresh air and a change of scenery

 

These tips are just some of the ways that people with dementia can remain safe and active during the winter months. Don’t forget to consider the use of locating technologies – a cell phone, door sensor, or GPS tracker may be helpful to avoid a wandering incident or to help find someone who has gone missing. Want to learn more? Visit the updated Finding Your WayⓇ technology page!

Winter is a beautiful season, and meant to be enjoyed – so be safe, and have fun!

Photos from the Finding Your Way™ expansion

Photos from the Finding Your Way™ expansion

On February 19, Alzheimer Society of Ontario staff, the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat, community partners and the media celebrated the expansion of Finding Your Way™ , a program designed to prevent people with dementia from going missing and ensuring caregivers have a plan in place if they do, into three new languages. With the addition of Arabic, Tagalog, Tamil and Urdu, Finding Your Way is now available in 12 languages, allowing to reach more seniors than ever with this important message.

Here are some photos from our media launch. Thanks to everyone who attended!

20150219_101404
Chris Dennis, Interim CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, and Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors
20150219_104930
North Toronto Community Centre
20150219_101218
Chris Dennis and Mario Sergio with David Harvey, Chief Public Policy and Programs Initiatives Officer
20150219_094851
20150219_095235 Chris Dennis speaks with David Saunders from Toronto Police Services

20150219_10505720150219_103308

Behind the scenes at the Finding Your Way phase 2 launch

Behind the scenes at the Finding Your Way phase 2 launch

On January 28, 2014, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario launched phase 2 of Finding Your Way, an innovative public safety initiative to help people with dementia stay safe while staying active.  Portuguese, Italian and Spanish were added to the program, which already consists of French, English, Punjabi, Traditional and Simplified Chinese. These were the photos I took in the midst of the media scrum.

IMG_2505
Laura Albanese, MPP, Hon. Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors, Gale Carey, CEO Alzheimer Society of Ontario
IMG_2510
Elizabeth Esteves, Manager Policy Initiatives Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat, Jamie Stirling Prov. Search and Rescue Coordinator, Ontario Provincial Police
IMG_2515
MPP Laura Albanese and CEO Gale Carey
IMG_2516
Danielle Farrell, Wandering Person Registry Assistant, Alzheimer Society (AS) of Peel, Peggy Winch, Volunteer Coordinator, AS Windsor
IMG_2507
Andrew Fletcher, Deputy Chief, Halton Regional Police Services, CEO Gale Carey
IMG_2513
Promotional posters in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian
IMG_2521
Ruby Lopez, Caregiver, Cathy Barrick, CEO AS Toronto
IMG_2523
Loretta Tanner, Public Education Coordinator, AS Durham
IMG_2529
CEO Gale Carey speaking
IMG_2530
A well-attended morning
IMG_2532
MPP Laura Albanese
IMG_2535
Hon. Mario Sergio
IMG_2539
Hon. Mario Sergio
IMG_2541
Andrew Fletcher, Deputy Chief, Halton Regional Police Service representing Ontario Association of Police Chief
IMG_2553
Rina, Caregiver, Hon. Mario Sergio, Sarah, Caregiver
IMG_2555
CEO Gale Carey, Juan, Caregiver, Rina, Caregiver, Hon. Mario Sergio, Sarah, Caregiver
IMG_2556
CEO Gale Carey, Emcee Cristina Da Costa, Hon. Mario Sergio
IMG_2559
Angela Johnston, Social Worker, AS York, Jonathon Macri, Public Education Coordinator, AS York
IMG_2562
Gale addresses the media
IMG_2568
A wonderful mural at St. Clair West Services for Seniors building
IMG_2574
CEO Gale Carey, Jamie Sterling, OPP, Andrew Fletcher, Deputy Chief, Halton Regional Police Services, Chantal Mudahogora, Finding Your Way Coordinator, AS Brant, Haldimand-Norfolk, and Hamilton-Halton

Photos from the Finding Your Way™ partnership event

Photos from the Finding Your Way™ partnership event

On Friday, November 15, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario and the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat  held a partnership event to help expand the Finding Your Way program to seven Alzheimer Societies in Ontario, the Older Adults Centres’ Association of Ontario and the Aphasia Institute.

Finding Your Way is a program that offers practical advice on how people with dementia can stay safe while staying active in the community. It provides tips and resources for people living with their dementia, their caregivers and community members  on ways to best deal with the risk of going missing.

Representatives from each of the nine partners received an $8,000 grant to roll out the program in their community. We would like to thank the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat and the Honourable Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors, for supporting this initiative.

Alzheimer Society of Ontario CEO Gale Carey with the Honourable Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors
Alzheimer Society of Ontario CEO Gale Carey with the Honourable Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors
Older Adults Centres' Assocation of Ontario's Sue Hesjedahl with the Minister Responsible for Seniors' Mario Sergio and Alzheimer Society of Ontario CEO Gale Carey
Older Adults Centres’ Assocation of Ontario’s Sue Hesjedahl with the Minister and Gale Carey
Hamilton-Halton
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Hamilton-Halton with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of York Region with the Minister and Gale
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of York Region with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from MedicAlert™
Representatives from MedicAlert™
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Windsor
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Windsor
Niagara (2)
A representative from the Alzheimer Society of Niagara with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of London with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of London with the Minister and Gale Carey
Peel
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Peel with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Ontario with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Ontario with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Toronto with the Minister and Gale Carey
Representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Toronto with the Minister and Gale Carey
We can all help people with dementia find their way

We can all help people with dementia find their way

A few weeks ago I was on my way home from an Alzheimer Society Board meeting about 8 pm. I was driving north on the Don Valley Parkway, a six-lane highway in Toronto.  As I drove, I saw an elderly man driving a scooter on the southbound shoulder.  I thought that it was a pretty foolish thing to be doing.  Clearly, he should not have been on the shoulder of the DVP at dusk.

I was already well past him when the danger of his situation dawned on me, so I didn’t have time to stop to help him. I started thinking about Finding Your Way and what to do if you see someone looking out of place.  I called 911 to report it. They said they would send police to help him.

Who knows if he had dementia or if he just thought scooting down the DVP in the near dark was a good idea?  Either way, the Finding Your Way program made me think and assess and I called for help.

This is the hidden power of Finding Your Way. Everyone has a role to play in keeping people with dementia safer.  In closing, I offer a challenge for you: if you ever see a senior who looks disoriented or generally out-of-place, don’t just ignore it. Your action could make all the difference.

cathy-barrickCathy Barrick

CEO, Alzheimer Society of Toronto

Behind the scenes at the Finding Your Way launch

Behind the scenes at the Finding Your Way launch

On March 26, 2013, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario officially launched  the Finding Your Way program. This groundbreaking safety initiative is designed to promote awareness about the issue of people with dementia getting lost among the public and law enforcement. In addition, it provides information for caregivers on how to prevent a person with dementia from going missing and what information to have ready in case he or she does.

Read More Read More