Alzheimer Society says ‘put on the coffee’

This September, if someone you care about is living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, show support by taking part in a Coffee Break event.

Coffee Break is the largest annual fundraising campaign of the Alzheimer Society that raises money locally for hands-on programs and services offered by Alzheimer Societies in more than 150 communities across Canada.

Anyone can take part in this do-it-yourself fundraiser by making a donation in exchange for a cup of coffee.

Organizers say it can be as simple as hosting a coffee party at home, in the office or a public venue or as elaborate as organizing a coffee-thon using social media. This year’s target goal is $1.5 million dollars.

“Increased funding for services is essential to meet the needs of the growing numbers of Canadians with dementia,” said Naguib Gouda, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada. “Having access to services like counselling, day programs and respite care can make all the difference in the way families live with this devastating disease.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal, progressive and degenerative disease that destroys brain cells. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 64% of all dementias in Canada.

Dementia is a significant health issue in this country; the World Health Organization called it a “ticking time bomb” in its recent report, Dementia: A Public Health Priority. Dementia affects over 500,000 Canadians today and will rise to 1.1 million by 2038. Although the causes are unknown, older Canadians are at an increased risk. After 65, the risk for dementia doubles every five years, and according to the 2011 Canada Census, 22.8% of the Canadian population will be 65 and older by 2031.

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Symptoms include having difficulty remembering things, making decisions and performing everyday activities. These changes can affect the way a person feels and acts. There is currently no way to stop the disease, but research is improving the way care is provided.

“It’s no different in Red Deer,” says Bill Gaudette, CEO, Alzheimer Society Alberta & Northwest Territories. “The dementia crisis is now and it’s in our communities. We still don’t have a cure for the disease, but day programs, caregiver support groups, respite and other services help families to live well and independently longer. Our programs are increasingly vital. We need funds to keep them active.”

Dementia’s steadily increasing numbers will also have a tremendous impact on caregivers who already spend 231 million hours per year caring for someone with dementia. That number is expected to jump to 756 million hours per year by 2038. Family caregivers also experience higher levels of stress and other health-related conditions.

Coffee Break kicks off Sept. 20, but participants can host events throughout the month and up until the end of October. To register and start planning a Coffee Break event, visit