It was a busy morning in downtown St. John’s for people seeking to make a difference in the lives of friends, families and people they have never met.
A host of customers, who normally frequent Rocket Bakery on Water Street, searching for their morning coffee, helped enhance the lives of those suffering from Alzheimer disease and dementia by simply buying a cup of coffee.
Funds that were raised from Rocket Bakery’s drip coffee were donated to the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, the first of more than 250 coffee breaks that will be held across the province from September and October.
World Alzheimer’s Day, Sept. 21, is a day on which Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of disorders that impairs mental functioning.
Special guests on hand Thursday at Rocket Bakery to greet and serve customers included the Ennis Sisters, Perry Chafe, Paul Doyle and Mount Pearl-Southlands MHA Paul Lane.
This served as a kickoff to World Alzheimer Day, as it not only raised funds, but support for those suffering from the disease and their families, and as an educational tool for those who may not know about Alzheimer disease.
“There are more than 260 events like this scheduled for September and October. This is our kickoff,” Jessica Flynn, events planner for Alzheimer Society NL, said Thursday morning.
“We are trying to raise awareness of the disease. People don’t realize that 8,666 people in this province suffer from Alzheimer disease or dementia right now.”
Flynn said this number has maintained its level from a year ago, but the demographic in the province that shows an aging population will ultimately see this number grow as more and more people will suffer Alzheimer disease or dementia in the future.
She said there are nine people diagnosed with dementia every hour in Canada.
Coffee Break is the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s major nationwide annual fundraiser where friends, co-workers and customers gather in communities across Canada to raise funds for their local Alzheimer Society.
This is the 23rd consecutive year Coffee Break has been hosted nationwide.
A host of supporters will hold Coffee Break events where the public can donate in exchange for a cup of coffee. The money raised stays in the province or community where it is raised to help support local programs and services.
Coffee Break raises over $1 million every year in support of essential programs and services for people living with dementia, their caregivers and family.
These programs make all the difference in the way families are able to live with the disease.
“The funds we raise remain here in the province and also go towards research,” Flynn said.
“Our goal is help find a cure,” she added.
Behind every person with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, there are hundreds of people dedicated to helping.
The Alzheimer Society is the leading not-for-profit health organization working nationwide to improve the quality of life for Canadians affected by Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and advance the search for the cause and cure. Active in communities across Canada, the society has programs and services near you.
Since 1978, the Alzheimer Society has been dedicated to providing help for people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and their caregivers.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
• Dementia is a term that generally refers to a variety of brain disorders. Different physical changes to the brain cause different dementias. Some are reversible, meaning that they can be treated and cured, while others are irreversible, meaning there is no cure.
• Symptoms worsen over time and include: loss of memory, changes in judgment and reasoning, difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language and changes in mood and behaviour.
• Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible and eventually fatal. Other dementias include vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia (including Pick’s disease), Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Lewy body dementia.
• Dementia is not a normal part of aging, but age is the biggest risk factor.
• As of 2016, an estimated 564,000 Canadians are living with dementia. By 2031, this figure is expected to rise to 937,000, an increase of 66 per cent.
• The combined health-care system and out-of-pocket costs of dementia is estimated at $10.4 billion. By 2031, this figure is expected to increase by 60 per cent, to $16.6 billion.
Source: Alzheimer Society of Canada
• The Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is dedicated to providing support to caregivers, families and individuals who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease in this province.
• The Alzheimer Society is committed to providing educational and support services to the 8,666 individuals affected in Newfoundland and Labrador. Some of the services the society offers include support, educational workshops, resource libraries, support groups, information and referral services.
Alzheimer Society contact Information
835 Topsail Road, Unit 107-108
Mount Pearl, NL A1N 3J6
Toll Free: 1-877-776-0608
Source: Alzheimer Society of Canada