It all started when I answered an advertisement in our local newspaper. It led me to the CEED Centre where I met Christian Cowley.
He was looking for a volunteer to start up a program for seniors with dementia. We talked and came up with a workable program that would take place once a week for three hours. We started right there and then. I began volunteering with the focus on laughter and sharing of life experiences and becoming a group of people who became friends.
We started out with Bev (friend), Gerry (husband), Christian and me. We built it through word of mouth and today we have 18 to 20 in our group. My husband has dementia caused by an accident that happened in 2004.
He and his horse were hit by a cement truck pulling a trailer. He was rushed to the hospital with lots of injuries. After a week in the hospital, followed by two years of rehab, and many problems, he was told that he would probably get dementia because of the brain damage that he suffered. And sure enough, he did. It changed his life and mine forever.
We started SAG in April 2015, and since that time we have grown into a very talkative coffee club. We usually share each other’s concerns and interests. Most times we start with a hub and we always end up in laughter.
The activities we have done are
- Playing bocce
- Eating at the Billy Miner
- Fishing off the dock—thanks to Christian for getting all of us fishing licenses
- Discussions on current affairs
- Exercising with dance and music
- Picnic in the park (Christmas in July theme)
- Playing pool
- Musical get-togethers
- Having guest speakers, musicians, poets and political views
We also have Bonita, who is doing her practicum with us and is awakening our inner self to musical instruments (percussion) from around the world. She has us deep breathing and imagining our thoughts and everyday things in colour. She helps to lower our stress and provoke personal thoughts.
Christian makes us aware of our environment and our commitment to protect and save our resources. We have Teesha, a new member that works with homeless youth. She is active and tries to get the kids off the street. She, herself, can relate to the kids and shares her journey with anyone who wants to learn from her experiences. It is hard and painful for Teesha, but she still smiles and helps those she can.
So, as you can see, we participate in many things, and we share our goals, beliefs, hopes and dreams. As a group, we have coffee and talk about life in general and do as many things as the group comes up with. Our group of people with dementia, and the caregivers who are often our very own spouses and friends, share a bond that will help us get through anything. They are very educated and very well versed in all aspects of dementia. We are addressing a disease that is growing more and more in our society.
Thanks to Christian and CEED Centre for giving our group SAG(Seniors Activity Group), the time and support to become a community safe place to meet when you need help and some direction. A place where you are among friends, and it all starts with a cup of coffee and a spoonful of love. We often say “come in for coffee, it will change your life with friends, love, support, and most of all, the laughter...”