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A Changing Melody: A Learning and Sharing Forum for Persons with Early-stage Dementia and their Partners in Care

3rd Annual A Changing Melody Forum held November 5th, 2006
A Changing Melody 2006 – BEST EVENT YET!

Thank you for a great day. I have just been diagnosed with the disease. It is very frightening and I feel this day has helped me greatly. I have been accompanied by my husband and my two daughters. I am very grateful that they saw fit and took the time to support me.(Person with dementia)

I found it very helpful. It is so nice to be treated like a person and not a number.(Person with dementia)

Wonderful conference. We are new into the subject and it helped us a great deal, identifying with others. Provides hope for the future.(Family Partner in Care)

It has been a good day for me because of the forum. It motivates me to continue to care for my mom-in-law who is going through a later stage of dementia. Thanks.(Family Partner in Care)

A wonderfully uplifting day. Personal touch, stories and experiences of people living with AD made my experiences/job real and reassured me I'm in the right job for the future. Thank you.(Professional)

The above quotes represent just some of the many comments we have received since the third A Changing Melody forum which took place on Sunday November 5th, 2006 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ontario. A Changing Melody is a learning and sharing forum specifically designed for persons with early stage dementia and their partners in care and is sponsored by the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC), the Alzheimer Society of Ontario (ASO), and the Dementia Advocacy Support Network International (DASNI).

The feedback we have gotten back so far from personal conversations, the comment cards, and the evaluation forms from the more than 150 people who attended, suggests that the forum was a huge success. It was a success because so many persons with dementia, partners in care, and others involved in dementia care were interested and willing to come together to learn and share from and with each other. A number of people mentioned at the end of the day on Sunday that they felt that this year’s forum was the best yet. They also emphasised that together we are making history with A Changing Melody by actively working to transform meanings of dementia in this Country and beyond. Already, two other countries, Japan and Australia, have held similar forums influenced greatly by our A Changing Melody. Through everyone’s involvement in A Changing Melody, we provide a more positive, realistic look into dementia from the perspectives of those living with it, help people realise that they are not alone in their fight, and take active steps to break the silence of dementia that will hopefully reduce the fears and stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. We believe that A Changing Melody will continue to have an impact on the way we think about dementia and those living the journey long into the future.

Two documents have been prepared as a result of feedback received from forum attendees. The first, a summary of all the comments shared on the “Comment and Idea Cards”. Click here for a copy of the summary. We have also prepared a summary from all the ideas shared and documented at each of the tables during the “Enhancing Abilities through Meaningful Activities” workshop. Click here for a copy of the summary. We hope that these ideas might inspire you to try something new or help to ensure that you continue to have meaningful activities in your life. Thank you to all those who made this event such a huge success!

Special thanks to our Forum GOLD Sponsors: Pfizer     Lundbeck

Thanks also to the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Alzheimer Society of Ontario for providing travel funds for forum attendees, and to the RBJ Schlegel - UW Research Institute for Aging for their continued support of MAREP acitivities.

For more information about A Changing Melody contact Sherry Dupuis at MAREP at 519-888-4567, ext. 36188 or anyone of the partners on the project.