More than 66,000 people in B.C. struggle with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
On Sunday, May 6, residents of Port Alberni added their voices of support to those affected by dementia during the annual Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s at the Glenwood Centre.
This year’s Walk was dedicated to all caregivers and emphasized the need for caregivers to receive support, acknowledgment and inclusion.
Organizer and city councillor Denis Sauve said that a world without dementia is the ultimate goal.
“Until this vision can be realized, we are committed to building a dementia-friendly society,” he said. “A place where people living with dementia, their families, their caregivers are acknowledged and included. That is what we’re doing today.”
Port Alberni mayor Mike Ruttan also spoke to the need for an Alzheimer’s facility in the community.
Volunteer Shaelene Buffie spoke on behalf of caregivers. Buffie lost her mother, Wendy, to dementia in 2011 when Wendy was 63.
“You’re doing it,” Buffie reminded the crowd of supporters and walkers. “Just by being there, you’re doing something wonderful for that person. Your presence and love is felt, even when it is not spoken. Even in the silence and darkness, you’re that light that your loved one needs.”
It’s important, she added, for caregivers to take a break and be gentle with themselves.
The total funds raised by Sunday’s event are not yet known. Last year’s walk raised well over the goal of $5,000, and Sauvé said he expects similar numbers this year. Funds will provide British Columbians affected by dementia with local support and education, and help enable research into the causes of and the cure for the disease.