Bryan Gilks has been caring for hiswidowed 92-year-old mother since shedeveloped health problems six years ago.
In 2014, after Lillian was diagnosedas being in the early stages of dementia,Gilks began a year-long period of movingher into his home. At first, she came forweekends, but gradually began spendingweeknights. In early 2015, after a hospitalstay for pneumonia, she moved inpermanently with Gilks and his partner.
“She had always said ‘I do not want tobe in a care centre,’ and my conversationwith her has been, ‘as long as that ispossible, that will be my commitment toyou,’ ” Gilks says.Dementia-friendlycommunities
Research project aims to help Albertans live at home longer
WRITTEN BY DEBBY WALDMANPhoto:BonninStudio
Gilks is not the first adult child to makesuch a promise, nor will he be the last,as many families seek help for a lovedone with dementia. Alberta currentlyhas 794 supportive living spaces and 174long-term care spaces for people withdementia. There are an estimated 40,000adults living with dementia. Not all ofthem need to be in care. Nor do theywant to be.
“People want to stay in their homes
as long as possible,” says Mike Conroy,
president and CEO of the Brenda
Strafford Foundation in Calgary. “We’re
applying our expertise in seniors’ care,
outside of the walls of our care facilities,
to ensure people have access to the
right community supports to be able to
The foundation leads Alberta’s
Dementia Friendly Communities Proof of
Concept Project, which the Government
of Alberta, Alberta Health Services
and Alberta Innovates jointly fund.
The project is raising awareness of andreducing the stigma associated withdementia, and developing and improvingsupports for people with dementia andtheir caregivers.
Dementia-friendly communities beganin Japan in 2013 and communities inBritish Columbia and the United States