There are more than 17,000 York Region residents living with dementia. With every person diagnosed, another 10 -12 people are directly impacted. When COVID-19 struck in March, many programs and services offered to people impacted by the Alzheimer's disease and other dementias were moved from in-person to online. In-person programming has returned, albeit at a much smaller capacity for safety of one of York Region's most vulnerable populations. While AS York is now offering a virtual D.A.Y. centre, a Monday to Friday email that offers a series of YouTube links created around a theme along with music, greetings, exercise as well as an online puzzle and colouring sheet, many seniors are not able to access it because they do not have the technology and Internet service. In the northern areas of York Region, poor Internet access is a common complaint. AS York is creating and delivering activation kits filled with materials and activities that will help caregivers keep people living with dementia engaged. Social and mental stimulation is important for people living with dementia to help them feel secure and productive members of their household. Each kit contains activities such as colouring books and crayons, activity sheets, a ball, a deck of cards and puzzles. The kits will also provide information about Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, AS York programs and services and ideas to use the items in the kit to keep people engaged.
The Alzheimer Society of York Region (AS York) provides support to people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and their caregivers as well as the general public. Last year, 272 people attended D.A.Y, programs, 2,362 families benefitted from counselling services, while 4,557 people took part in a public education session. Clients call AS York a "lifeline" and the people who work there "angels". Compassionate and knowledgeable staff are available to help and support people whatever stage they are on in their dementia journey. AS York offers First Link Navigators, who connect people with social workers and community supports; Minds in Motion, which offers a half an hour of cognitive stimulation and a half an hour of gentle exercise to people living with dementia and their care partners; support groups; and caregiver education, among other programs and services.
The Alzheimer Society of York Region's mission is to alleviate the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and to promote research.