Alzheimer’s disease info more readily available

Reaching out for advice, support or information about Alzheimer’s disease will soon be available more readily from home.

  • Jan. 15, 2014 2:00 p.m.

SUSAN ZIELINSKI

Red Deer Advocate

Reaching out for advice, support or information about Alzheimer’s disease will soon be available more readily from home.

On Jan. 29 the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and North West Territories will host its first Care-ring Voice Network webinar and on April 1 its new interactive website — ASANT Café — will go live.

Christene Gordon, director of client services, said five to six hour-long Care-ring Voice Network webinars, which will be available by telephone or Internet, are planned for this year.

“One of the real benefits of this is can use the expertise that we find across the province in various areas and offer it to people no matter where they are who wouldn’t normally have access to coming, to say, an in-person session that we might offer at our Edmonton office,” said Gordon, based in Calgary.

It will be especially helpful for older caregivers living in rural Alberta who are reluctant to drive in the winter, she said.

“No matter why they are isolated, whether it’s geography or circumstance or whatever, all they have to do is register with the Care-ring Voice Network. There’s no cost for that.”

For more information, visit www.careringvoice.com.

The first webinar presenter is Dr. Tammy Hopper, associate dean of grad studies and research in the Speech Pathology and Audiology department at the University of Alberta.

She will discuss communication difficulties for people with Alzheimer’s.

Gordon said slides will generally go along with the 45-minute presentations leaving about 15 minutes for questions.

Slide material can be downloaded or sent out to those listening to the presentation on the phone.

Archived sessions will also be available.

Come April 1, the ASANT (Alzheimer Society of Alberta and the North West Territories) Café will provide even more ways to stay informed and connected.

Gordon said Care-ring Voice Network webinars are like workshops and the ASANT Café is like an ongoing conference.

“It’s a whole brand new website available 24-7. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night it is.”

There will be interactive workshops, online conversations and support groups, and information available in a variety of forms.

Gordon said as far as they know, a website like this doesn’t exist which is one of the reasons they are really excited about what it will offer people.

“It’s been under development for the last number of months. I think it’s going to be an amazing resource available to people in the province and outside of the province.

“And of course they can still call our staff and our trained volunteers in any of our offices and get one-on-one service,” Gordon said.

User tests for ASANT Café will be underway at the end of January.

In addition to new Alzheimer programs, the society’s Red Deer and Central Alberta office is hosting an East Coast Meets West Kitchen Party on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Festival Hall, 4214 58 St., featuring music by Chris Greve & Claymore, live auctions, a cash bar, and tasty bites from Atlantic Canada and Alberta.

Tickets are $100 each. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and information, call 403-342-0448.

The new event replaces the Making Sweet Memories Gala.

Janice Fogarty, community relations manager at the Red Deer and Central Alberta office, said the new direction ties in with Central Alberta’s diverse population.

There are people working in Alberta who are worrying about family members with dementia they’ve left behind.

“We’re seeing a lot of, ‘My dad is in New Brunswick or my mom is in Newfoundland. I just don’t understand what’s going on.’ We can talk them through the process, sometimes we even put them in touch with people in the different provinces,” Fogarty said.