CORNWALL, ON, April 27, 2018 –The Alzheimer Society of Cornwall and District has received a grant from the Ministry of Seniors Affairs.  In a Champlain wide collaboration with the Alzheimer Society serving Ottawa and Renfrew County, the two Societies are teaming up  to develop 50 new Dementia Friendly Communities and train 2000 people within neighbourhoods, organizations, businesses, workplaces and services within the Champlain region.

Research has shown that while awareness about dementia has increased, stigma and negative attitudes around it continue to persist.

A Leger-led survey, which questioned 1500 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 65 online, reveals that 46% of respondents would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia, while 61% of those surveyed said they would face discrimination of some kind. The survey also shows that one in four Canadians believe that their friends and family would avoid them if they were diagnosed with dementia, and only five per cent of Canadians would learn more about dementia if a family member, friend or co-worker were diagnosed.

1 in 5 individuals would avoid seeking help for as long as possible if they thought they had dementia, to avoid the associated stigma. This is something that a community has the power to change.  Thanks to this grant, the Alzheimer Society can offer this training for free to any organization, business, service provider wanting to become dementia-friendly.

The Cornwall region has shown leadership by participating in a pilot effort last year.  The Alzheimer Society provided valuable Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) training to its first responders, city employees, a tourist attraction, and a pharmacy, which then helped them to better understand dementia and to feel more confident offering assistance to those who are living with dementia and their carers. Each of these groups has modified their customer service principles to enhance communication strategies when interacting with someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and they have expressed feeling more confident understanding what dementia is and how it impacts people.

With this recent grant from the Ministry of Seniors Affairs, the Alzheimer Society aims to expand on the success of the pilot efforts in Cornwall and extend the program to support those who live with dementia throughout the Champlain Region.  The knowledge gained from the training sessions will be shared with other Alzheimer Societies throughout Ontario so they can do the same in their own communities.

“I am proud to support the Alzheimer Society of Cornwall and District in their effort to make our community more friendly and welcoming to patients and families living with dementia. As our senior population grows, it is imperative to ensure those who helped build our province are given the best chance to remain active, involved and safe in the communities that owe them so much. All of us can contribute to this aim by becoming dementia-friendly, just as my office and many others in SDSG have already done”  says Jim McDonell MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

All inquiries to become a DFC are welcome by the AS of Cornwall and District.

The Alzheimer Society is now accepting applications from businesses, organizations, workplaces, neighbourhoods, etc., in Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, Russell and Akwesasne. Those who receive the free 3-hour training session are formally recognized as a Dementia Friendly Community and will be provided with DFC decals to display in their windows, they will be highlighted on Ontario’s DFC microsite and most importantly they will become better equipped to support this growing need in our community.

 Contact the Alzheimer Society at 613 932-4914 or [email protected] for more information or to apply to become an official Dementia Friendly Community.

Let’s actively reduce stigma related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and replace it with understanding!

 About the Alzheimer Society of Cornwall and District

The Alzheimer Society of Cornwall and District offers Help for Today through programs and services for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and Hope for Tomorrow…by funding research to find the cause and the cure. To learn more about the Alzheimer Society, visit:

Did you know that a Leger-led survey, which questioned 1,500 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 65 revealed:

  • 1 in 4 Canadians believe that their friends and family would avoid them if they were diagnosed with dementia
  • 46% of respondents would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia
  • Only 5% of Canadians would learn more about dementia if a family member, friend or co-worker were diagnosed.

3 out of 4 of us know someone with dementia.  That means that there are people that we interact with every day who are touched in some way by it.  Whether we realize it or not, there are many places in our community that engage with a person living with dementia.  Places might include our neighbourhoods, our workplaces, our places of worship, our pharmacies, our utility companies, our financial institutions, our transit services or our local coffee shops to name a few.

A study showed how those who live with dementia in the community feel:

  • Their overall sense of confidence was lost
  • Fearful of becoming lost or confused
  • Concerned about their mobility and health issues
  • Worried about becoming a burden
  • Challenged to get around; as transportation is a barrier

Consider your community; do you interact with people who live with dementia?  Are you comfortable providing the necessary supports as part of your customer service approach?

One of our core objectives at the Alzheimer Society is to continue to look for new ways to make life better for those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  We would love to partner with you to enable your community to become a  Dementia Friendly Community.

A Dementia Friendly Community provides an environment where people living with dementia and their caregivers are included and supported in day-to-day life.  By helping community members better understand dementia and how to interact with someone who lives with it, Dementia Friendly Communities reduces the stigma and provide an environment where people with dementia and caregivers are included, supported and can live well.

The Alzheimer Society can provide your organization with free training to help make it Dementia Friendly.  The training is tailored to a “community’s” needs and experience.  The average training takes 3 hours and we are able to accommodate multiple sessions for organizations with larger teams.

There are over 20,000 people living with dementia in Champlain region.  We are prepared to develop 50 new Dementia Friendly Communities and to train 2000 new dementia friends throughout Champlain this year, will you be one of them?

We work with each group who takes the awareness training and explores ways that they can make changes in their organization to include and support those living with dementia.

In the end, these new Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly Communities throughout Champlain will become community partners who engage more confidently with persons living with dementia and families who live at home and are active within their communities.  Each will receive a window decal to identify them as a Dementia Friendly Community and each will receive promotion through our social media sites.  We look forward to working with you to help those families who are living with dementia within our communities.

The survey indicates that 87% of caregivers wish that more people understood the realities of caring for someone with dementia? Let’s work together to help make this wish come true.

Three steps to becoming a dementia friendly community:

  1. Identify what experiences your community has had with people who are living with dementia. Identify a number of scenarios.


  1. Identify what you would like to learn or how we can make you more confident serving people who have dementia.


  1. Call the Alzheimer Society so that we can develop a customized FREE training to suit your “community” needs.
  • Everyone gets: Information on Alzheimer’s and Dementia
  • Everyone gets: Communication Tips
  • Then we tailor information specific to item 1 and 2 above so that we can focus your strategies re: orientation for all staff, policy changes, procedure changes, communication strategy tip sheet for all staff, promotion of your dementia friendly community on our web site and your website, and providing you with a dementia friendly community decal for your community so that people living with dementia will know that they can ask for your help.


To book your Dementia Friendly Community awareness training, call Shelley Vaillancourt at 1-800-616-8816 In the Eastern Counties or Mike Marta at (613) 224-1400 for training in Ottawa-Renfrew regions.