Alzheimer Society announces February fundraiser

The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories, in partnership with MNP, is gearing up for the 2012 Making Sweet Memories Gala.

Set for Feb. 2, the gala aims to raise awareness and funds by bringing people together for an evening of fun, food and entertainment.

Last year’s Making Sweet Memories Gala raised more than $20,000 to support the Alzheimer Society’s programs and services and organizers hope to surpass that goal this year.

The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Black Knight Inn in Red Deer.

Tickets are $75 each.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, which causes thinking and memory to become seriously impaired. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 64% of all dementias in Canada.

Alzheimer’s disease causes a gradual onset of memory loss and a continuing decline. There are also changes in judgment and reasoning, and performing familiar, everyday tasks becomes harder.

Symptoms include loss of memory, difficulty with day-to-day tasks, and changes in mood and behaviour. People may think these symptoms are part of normal aging but they aren’t.

It is important to see a doctor when you notice any of these symptoms as they may be due to other conditions such as depression, drug interactions or an infection.

As the Society points out, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have a deep impact not only those who are diagnosed, but also on the people who are closest to them. Family members have to take on different responsibilities when a relative is diagnosed with dementia.

Sons and daughters of a parent with dementia may become caregivers and husbands and wives of the person with dementia see their roles change. They often find themselves in the role of primary caregiver.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But, for some people, medications and treatments can help manage some of the symptoms and improve quality of life. The good news is that researchers have made great progress and a number of drugs now in clinical trials act directly against the disease process.

More than 40,000 Albertans live with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Seventeen per cent of people are diagnosed under the age of 65, which gives Alberta the highest prevalence of early onset in Canada.

It is projected that by 2038, there will be more than 100,000 Albertans living with dementia.

“There is a dire need for programs and services in Alberta,” says Donna Durand, regional manager of Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories, Red Deer and Central Alberta.

“Knowledge and being connected to community resources significantly improves quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s. Money raised at the Making Sweet Memories Gala will be used to fund the Society’s programs and services which are often provided free of charge.”

The Alzheimer Society is part of the leading nationwide health organization for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in Canada. The Society in Alberta supports innovative research, provides enhanced care and support to people with the disease, their families and their caregivers.

For more information about the Making Sweet Memories Gala, call 403-346-4636 or visit