January 20, 2014 7:32 am
Updated: January 20, 2014 8:19 am

New alzheimer resource centre brings relief to families

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Watch the video above: hundreds came out not only to celebrate the opening of a new Alzheimer’s centre but also for the Walk of Memories

SASKATOON – The opening of the Prairie North Resource Centre this week has ushered in a wave of relief and hope among those who deal with the disease everyday.

People in the region will now have access to resources they didn’t have before.

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More than 18,000 people in Saskatchewan have dementia and according to the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, the number of newly-diagnosed cases is expected to double by 2035.

Danika Liske’s dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when she was graduating from high school.

“I noticed such big changes in him, and felt that I needed to be a bigger help. So I didn’t go to university for a while, I put that kind of on the back burner. I decided to stay home with dad, so I was a full-time caregiver,” she explained.

Liske said watching her father transition from a strong, capable man to someone who no longer knows her name has been devastating.

“I got married, dad didn’t get to walk me down the aisle, which was truly heartbreaking,” she said.

Liske said she and her mother struggled, and could have used a better support system. She says the recent investment in Alzheimer’s resource centres is a big step forward.

“The provincial government supported the Alzheimer’s Society with 400 thousand dollars of annualized funding, so we could open up four new resource centres,” said Joanne Bracken, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan’s Chief Executive Officer.

The Walk for Memories was held in Saskatoon Sunday. Hundreds of people proudly wore cards that represented loved ones they were supporting.

“January is Alzheimer Awareness Month, and so we have a number of people from Saskatoon and area who are coming out in support of people who are living with Alzheimers Disease,” Bracken explained.

“For many people, this is [a] memorial. This is walking for loved ones who’ve passed, and this is also a dedication to those who are living with the disease now,” said Greg Charyna, co-owner of Home Instead Senior Care.

Proceeds will go toward vital research and supporting those who are affected by the disease.

The resource centres provide a wide range of support groups, learning services, and information for those who have dementia and their loved ones.

It’s also important to note that last year, there were over four thousand new cases of dementia in Saskatchewan seniors aged 65 and older.

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