A one-of-a-kind Calgary charity is in need of office space to continue its services for people living with early-onset dementia.
YouQuest offers recreational programs for Calgarians under 65 years old and provides daytime resources for them and their families.
Co-founder Cindy McCaffery said the program is different from others in that it provides a safe space for participants in the daytime.
“One of the things about young onset dementia that’s different than with an older person with dementia is that the person is still very physically active and strong,” Cindy said.
YouQuest was operating out of SAIT’s wellness centre but the facility is closed now.
The organization needs a vacant office or commercial space to rent — at a charity-friendly rate — two days per week. The space would need to be close to an LRT station and have a large meeting room where up to 20 people can meet with physical distancing measures in place.
The group usually meets on Thursdays, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had to halt its programs.
“COVID has, unfortunately, made our participants stay home where they get isolated. They don’t get to visit their friends, they feel confined and the care partners feel all those things as well,” Cindy said.
Her husband, John McCaffery, was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia more than a decade ago.
At 61 years old, John is still very active. The program allows him to remain fit and socialize with friends.
YouQuest also provides a day of respite for caregivers, offering up peace of mind while giving caregivers some time to themselves.
“We wanted to provide a lot of activity for people with young-onset dementia to get them out of the house and back to doing the things that they enjoyed before their diagnosis. It really helps the care partners because then they have a day to themselves where they can do errands or just relax or in my case, go back to the office,” Cindy said.
“It’s great for my wife to know that we’re out somewhere with groups of volunteers and that we’re not getting into trouble,” John said. “I think the bottom line with YouQuest is that [it is] a way of having a good day.”