Nursing students hand out coffee for Alzheimer’s awareness

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

In the Make Your Coffee Count fundraiser, students could get their morning coffee while contributing to the community. The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences hosted this annual fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society of Niagara, collecting donations and raising awareness.

Nursing students set up in Guernsey Market on November 16 and asked students to contribute any amount of cash they had on hand in exchange for a cup of coffee.

Coffee Break is a nationwide fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society in which communities gather to raise funds for local Alzheimer Societies. The funds are dispersed locally and provincially to support local programs and services.

“I’m hoping the Coffee Break will help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and encourage people to become more sensitive to individuals and families managing this brain disorder,” said second-year Nursing student Nadia Potapov.

This event has manifested itself as an Alzheimer’s awareness-building and stigma-fighting cause.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that destroys brain cells, impairing thinking ability and memory and causing these capacities to deteriorate in a way far different from the typical effects of aging. Alzheimer’s can lead to dementia, which is a progressive trait, applied to an overall set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain.

Despite the $53 million that has been invested to date in dementia research through the Alzheimer Society (Canadian) Research Program, more than 500,000 Canadians are living with dementia. This count includes the number of people in Canada diagnosed with dementia. However, it is said that every one in five people will also be affected by Alzheimer’s, either through their own diagnosis or that of a loved one.

Approximately 56 per cent of Canadians say that they fear Alzheimer’s, often citing the belief that it would cause a burden for loved ones. Research also proves that one in every four Canadians admit that if they were to develop dementia they would feel ashamed or embarrassed. Defeating these stigmas are crucial and the Alzheimer’s Society agrees that by learning more facts, staying away from assumptions, avoiding negative language and changing the way we interact with those who have dementia, we can break down the stigma.

“I believe, through donations and fundraising, we can find a cure as well as better ways to manage Alzheimer’s,” said Potapov. “As an aspiring registered nurse, the opportunity to connect with the Brock community to raise awareness about prevention, early diagnosis and education aligns with my future career goals of helping people.”

The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences is hosting another ongoing event this month, a twice weekly Open Door session that has been running all term. Each Monday and Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. students can go to the Kenmore Centre and  receive anonymous and confidential peer-to-peer wellness support

If you could not make your way to the fundraiser on Friday, you may still contribute to the cause in other ways. The Alzheimer Society of Niagara will be hosting a Walk for Alzheimer’s in January. There are also several options for volunteering, listed on their website: http://alzheimer.ca/en/niagara/Get-involved.

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