Spring is about renewal and rejuvenation - especially for Coquitlam residents dealing with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
"One thing that helps us renew our energy and improve our well-being is connecting with others," says Katherine Guildbride, the local First Link Coordinator for the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C.
Research shows that being socially active helps to reduce stress, boost mood and keep relationships strong - all important factors in preventing dementia, a degenerative brain disease.
One in four Canadians has someone in their family with Alzheimer's disease. And every five minutes a Canadian develops dementia. Those statistics illustrate the need for residents to take immediate steps for their own brain health, she says.
"Connecting with others can be about maintaining old friendships, but it can also be about new experiences and creating new bonds."
Another suggestion for connecting with people is to tell them about your diagnosis.
"The disease becomes a very personal experience not just for the person living with dementia but for their families and friends as well, the people who were an important part of those memories," says Guildbride.
Although receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or another dementia is very difficult, some people are relieved to have an explanation for the problems they are experiencing.
"Telling family members and friends about your diagnosis also gives them the opportunity to learn about dementia and how they can best support you."
It may also help to meet others with the disease.
"You are not alone in your journey," says Guildbride. There are approximately 70,000 other people with dementia living in B.C.
Some of them participate in a free local support and information group that meets monthly.
The group serves as a forum for sharing practical tips and strategies for coping with the disease. It meets at 7 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month.
For more information, contact Guildbride at 604-298-0780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, visit the Alzheimer Society of B.C. website at www.alzheimerbc.org.