Over the next 20 years, the number of Canadians living with dementia is expected to double. Currently, over half a million Canadians have dementia, with two-thirds living in their own homes. In Canadian nursing homes, 87% of residents have some form of cognitive impairment. With these numbers only expected to increase, it is important that caregivers, community members and healthcare professionals have the empathy, communication skills and tools needed to support this population.
The University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy, in collaboration with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health, is excited to announce the upcoming launch of Understanding Dementia: A Walk in Their Shoes. As the first institution in Canada to receive Dementia Live® and Compassionate Touch® training from the AGE-u-cate® Training Institute, we will be offering student-run dementia simulation and learning experiences to the community. In the United States, these experiences have been shown to improve empathy, knowledge of dementia, communication, and caregiving skills.
With the Dementia Live® specialized equipment, participants will be able to experience what it feels like to have dementia. A discussion and skill building session will follow, in which community members will gain important knowledge and skills in an engaging way. For students, these skills will be used in their future care for dementia patients. For caregivers, the learning experience will help them understand their loved one’s feelings and allow them to better provide for their loved one’s needs. For the general public, empathy and understanding will be developed.
Understanding Dementia: A Walk in Their Shoes is scheduled to take place July 16th at 2 pm at the Huron Community Family Health Team in Seaforth. Please note this is a free event but registration is required. If you or someone you know is interested, contact Sara Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.gatewayruralhealth.ca.