Categorized | Community

The Alzheimer Society of Ontario expands to four additional multilingual communities in Ontario

Posted on 26 February 2015 by admin

The Alzheimer Society of Ontario, in partnership with the Government of Ontario, is expanding the award-winning Finding Your WayTM program by reaching out to Arabic, Tagalog, Tamil and Urdu communities.

 The multicultural safety awareness initiative for people with dementia who may go missing or become lost is now available in 12 languages, helping society as a whole better understand some of the behaviours associated with the disease and in turn providing tools to deal with the risk of going missing.

 “This unique program breaks the stigma attached to the disease,” insists David Harvey, Chief Public Policy and Program Initiatives Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

 “Dementia affects people regardless of race, religion or class. We need to find ways to support people from as many different cultures as possible.”

 According to the 2011 Census, more than 106,000 Ontarians speak Arabic, 128,965 speak Urdu, 85,045 Tamil and 69,605 Tagalog.

 Members of these communities are among the 200,000 Ontarians who have dementia today.

The Finding Your Way program has received over $2 million in funding from the Government of Ontario and now offers resources to communities across the province in 12 languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Arabic, Tagalog, Tamil and Urdu.

Communities have benefited greatly from the multilingual, multimedia awareness safety campaign. Statistics show that three out of five people with dementia go missing at some point, often without warning. There is greater risk of injury, even death, for those missing for more than 24 hours.

Having a plan in place and knowing how to respond should a missing incident occur can help save a life. Unfortunately, mental illnesses and neurological diseases such as dementia may be misunderstood in many ethnic communities. The lack of awareness about dementia increases the risks of missing incidents amongst people with dementia.

The Alzheimer Society of Ontario recognizes the need to educate and promote awareness of dementia to Ontario’s various multicultural communities.

 Vaqar Raees lives in Ajax. His father-in-law has Alzheimer’s. Most of the time Raees finds his father-in-law agitated, continuously repeating requests and forgetting things like day and time.

“My father-in-law is a home bird and doesn’t like to go out often. A few months ago he broke his leg and since then his mobility has been restricted,” says Raees. He was always concerned about his father-in-law getting lost.

“Alzheimer Society’s Finding Your Way program in Urdu has come as a blessing for caregivers like me. Finding the tools and information in one’s own language is definitely helpful.” “We’ve all heard news items about missing reports of people with dementia. People may not know where to seek help or what to do to offer assistance,” says Chris Dennis, Interim CEO of Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

“We commend the Ontario Government for recognizing the need to support people living with dementia from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, and we are thankful for their help in providing socially inclusive programs and services, such as Finding Your Way.”

 “There are nearly 200,000 Ontarians currently living with dementia and many do not speak English or French,” says Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs.

“With the expansion of the Finding Your Way program we are reaching more people, and providing important information to protect those with this disease. Through Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors we continue to work with older adults, their families, caregivers and law enforcement to improve the safety and security of seniors across the province.”


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