Peel Long Term Care (LTC) and Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives (PAMA) invite you to explore a new virtual exhibit titled, Life is Beautiful: Memoirs of People Living with Dementia.

As we commemorate Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Canada, this exhibit celebrates the beautiful lives and unique journeys of people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia within our five Peel LTC homes. As well, the exhibit will offer a peek into our Butterfly home areas and how staff and caregivers work alongside each other to find creative ways to care for the people living in our homes.

With a growing and aging population, we will see more Canadians living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. For every five years a person lives beyond the age of 65, their chances of being diagnosed with dementia doubles. According to survey results published by the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada in 2017, people living with dementia experience far more stigma than those with physical health conditions.

The dementia journey is also scary for caregivers, with 87% of caregivers in Canada wishing that more people understood the realities of caring for someone with dementia. Two-thirds of caregivers find the experience of caring for someone with dementia to be isolating.

“A loved one being diagnosed with dementia can be a very scary feeling for a caregiver but having the right environment and supports can make a huge difference. It is vital to meet people with dementia where they are in their journey, and this is the biggest lesson I’ve learnt from the Butterfly model at Peel LTC,” said Gerry Kupferschmidt, family member (husband) of Laura Kupferschmidt and resident at Peel LTC’s Sheridan Villa Long Term Care Centre.  “The feeling of love doesn’t end because you have dementia, in fact, dementia brings people’s most authentic feelings to the forefront, and they are not afraid to express them. By providing kind and compassionate care, people living with dementia can lead their best and most engaging lives.”

This exhibit demonstrates that people living with dementia can have fulfilling and engaging lives if they are provided the right environment and supports. The Region of Peel has been a sector leader in transforming LTC through a person-centred care approach and the Butterfly model, which has demonstrated improved quality of care and enhanced outcomes by meeting the emotional, physical, and clinical needs of the residents living in LTC homes.

As our homes continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, they remain committed to providing person-centred care and by ensuring that both the clinical and emotional needs of the people who live with us are met.

While the provincial and federal governments have supported LTC homes with some additional funding throughout the pandemic, this funding will not be enough to address concerns within the sector or adequately enable emotion-based care models.

Sustainable investments and enhanced standards in LTC are needed to allow for quality, emotion-based care to support our most vulnerable seniors into the future. This continues to be the focus of the Region’s advocacy efforts.

This Life is Beautiful exhibit invites you to explore the unique lives and friendships of people living with dementia and their caregivers, and the difference that emotion-based care that focuses on the person’s story can bring to an individual’s life.

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