AMHERST – There’s a silver tsunami approaching.
Diane Ardern, the Alzheimer’s Society’s coordinator for education and outreach in Cumberland and Colchester Counties, made the first of a number of county-wide education series at the Four Fathers Memorial Library on Wednesday. Alzheimer’s and early onset dementia affects more than 2,000 people under the age of 65, Ardern says, and that number will grow as the Baby Boomer generation gets older, leading to what Ardern refers to as the silver tsunami.
“How will we take care of these seniors,” Ardern said.
The answer begins at home.
“One of the things is knowledge. Knowledge gives us the power to make change.”
Being informed on how to keep our minds engaged and living healthy are key steps for both seniors and family members, Ardern said. And it doesn’t have to be as serious as it sometimes sounds.
“It’s important to stimulate the brain, have fun and laugh,” Ardern said. “Laughter is important for your brain. You don’t want to be too stressed.”
Taking advantage of the resources available to everyone when Alzheimer’s becomes part of their life is equally important and helps build an understanding.
“The Alzheimer’s info line, at 1-800-611-6345, is just one resource. Someone answers the phone and they are there to help,” Ardern said. “One family member told us they didn’t know what they would have done without the info line. There’s also a support group in Amherst. They meet the last Thursday of every month at 71 Victoria St. in Amherst.”
Community libraries also provide resources and in Halifax there is the Handrahan Resource Centre, which offers specialized resource kits.
Most of all, families need to be compassionate.
“Growing old is like a disease. It’s not easy,” Ardern said. “The person is doing the very best hey can with what they have left.”
Aredern will lead a number of information sessions throughout Cumberland County in the coming days through the Cumberland Libraries.
Following is the upcoming schedule for the Healthy Brains series:
Sept. 25 – Advocate Library, 10 a.m.
Sept. 27 – Oxford Library, 11 a.m.
Oct. 2 – Springhill Library, 10 a.m.
Oct. 7 – Pugwash Library, 11 a.m.
Oct. 9 – Parrsboro Library, 1 p.m.
For more information, Ardern can be contacted after Monday, Sept. 23, at 902-694-7775.