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Purple Angel will be ambassador for Alzheimer patients

Tabitha Kay

Tabitha Kay

An  advocate for those suffering from Alzheimer diseases and dementia has been named a Purple Angel Ambassador.

Tabitha Kay, 37, of Picton, will work with initiatives to promote awareness and dignity following Norman McNamara’s vision of creating dementia friendly cities, hospitals, retail shops and even nursing homes. McNamara and wife Elaine created the purple angel ambassador global campaign when he was diagnosed with dementia six years ago – at age 50. He lives in the United Kingdom.

“There is a training program for retail staff that is usually delivered through a BIA with participating retail stores getting a purple angel sticker for the door upon completion – signifying they are dementia aware,” said Kay. “There is also a wristband program for hospitals and long term care homes that when implemented promotes both dignity, and safety.”

The Alzheimers Association explains that by making people aware of underlying dementia diagnoses, misunderstandings will be reduced and agitation and confusion can be appropriately addressed, leading to more compassionate, effective care. Being mindful of the patient’s condition also ensures that special precautions can be taken to minimize falls and wandering and address signs of sundowning, aggression, and feelings of abandonment.

Purple Angel“Having worked in long-term care as an advocate for the residents, as well as having specialized dementia care training, puts me in a good position to advocate within the community and promote positive culture change.”

Kay is completing her Recreation and Leisure program diploma at Loyalist, then plans to attend Queens for psychology and physiology courses, eventually stepping up to neuroscience.

In the meantime, Kay is joining others in their support of the local Alzheimer Society this Saturday in the 2014 Walk for Memories fund raisers in both Picton and Wellington.

If you’re not able to participate, please drop by the Alzheimer Association office on Paul Street any day to make a donation, or drop by the high school or Wellington arena Saturday.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting men and women of all races, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. It is not a normal part of aging and no one is immune.

The Alzheimer Society Walk for Memories raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and education. Held annually in more than 65 communities across Ontario, the event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to help support people living with dementia.
Funds raised at the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward County event will support programs and services offered in the local community.

The County’s events are Saturday, Jan. 25 from 1p.m. – 3p.m. at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute and the Wellington Community Centre.

Walkers who raise at least $1,500 will have their names entered into a draw for two return tickets from Westjet where ever they fly in North America.

“This very generous donation from Westjet will be available to walkers in the Hastings-Prince Edward area – those walking in Picton, Wellington, Trenton, Belleville and Bancroft,” said Laura Hare, interim executive director.

In addition, Via Rail has donated two return tickets for any stop in the Belleville-Quebec City corridor.  This will be awarded to the top fundraiser in the Picton-Wellington walks.

The Picton and Wellington walks are being organized by volunteers Lyn McGowan, Janet Lyons, Tammy Doxtator-Jones and Melanie Payne.

For details, sponsoring a walker, or participating, call  613 476-2085 or visit www.walkformemories.ca

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