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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A children’s colouring contest has been launched to help educate and engage Island youth about dementia during what has been designated as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
Island children up to 12 years old are invited to take part in the contest and their artwork will be on display at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Prince County Hospital throughout January.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are brain diseases that affect thinking, memory, mood, behaviour and physical abilities.
The disease has a profound impact on those living with it, as well as their families and friends and community, said Alzheimer Society of P.E.I. CEO Corrine Hendricken-Eldershaw
“Many people when they think Alzheimer’s disease, they automatically associate it to memory loss, but it is so much more than that,” said Hendricken-Eldershaw. “By raising awareness and helping the public to become informed of the warning signs, symptoms and education available, we can work together to support people diagnosed, their care partners and health-care professionals to build dementia friendly communities.”
Islanders of all ages are also being encouraged to learn more about the disease through the #LetsTalkMemory campaign. It is an ongoing campaign that challenges the stigma of Alzheimer’s disease. Islanders are being asked to share their story or journey with Alzheimer’s on social media with the hashtag #LetsTalkMemory.
Health Minister Robert Mitchell said promoting healthy and dignified aging is a top priority for the provincial government.
“It is important to encourage greater awareness and understanding of what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” said Mitchell. “This partnership with the Alzheimer’s society is a step forward in enhanced co-ordination and co-operation between our community partners, government and Health P.E.I.”
More information on the contest is available online.
NEED TO KNOW
- About 40 per cent of people over age 65 experience some form of memory loss. When there is no underlying medical condition, it is known as age-associated memory impairment and considered normal.
- Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are not a part of normal aging, but it is possible to maintain quality of life while living with them. With adequate support, those affected can continue to do the things they love and remain active in their community for what can be many years.
- Warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss that affects day-to-day abilities, problems with language, disorientation in time and space, impaired judgement, problems with abstract thinking, misplacing things and changes in mood, behaviour or personality.
- Anyone worried about memory or who is experiencing warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease should talk to a primary care provider or the Alzheimer Society of P.E.I. The society can be reached at Alzpei.ca, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-866-628-2257.