By Michelle Poirier
The Ainsworth family has been chosen by the Alzheimer Society of York Region to be the honourary family for the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s, after Ryan Ainsworth’s years of providing music to the day program clients.
Ainsworth, his wife Rebecca Fillion and their daughter Alanna, who live in Keswick, will be participating in the walk and raising money to help support the programs run by the Alzheimer Society of York Region.
He says they are walking for his wife’s grandmother, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease.
“The Society chose him because he’s been so active with our day program, providing music for them weekly, and as a family caregiver himself he realizes and sees the impact of music on our clients and what joy and memories it brings to each person,” Jaime Cruz, Public Education Coordinator and Minds in Motion Coordinator at the Alzheimer Society of York Region, said.
“With each song, and each memory, every person shows so many different expressions and that song could be tied to their past and open up so many windows. We have seen so many changes with our clients with music.”
Ryan has been performing for the Aurora and Thornhill Day Programs for 10 years and during the COVID-19 pandemic, he would pre-record performances which would be included in the virtual day program sent out to clients.
Ainsworth says he misses performing live for the clients and hopes to be able to return to it in the future.
“Most of us know somebody, or at some point in our lives we will have somebody in our family, who suffers from either dementia or Alzheimer’s,” he said.
“The Alzheimer’s Society does a lot to spread information and they provide so much in terms of care and help to people who are dealing with dementia and their families. I think the work they do is really important, and sometimes maybe gets overlooked a little bit; they’re always there when you need them but, sometimes, we don’t think about it until we actually do need them.”
Due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, the Alzheimer Society of York Region decided to hold another virtual walk this year.
Cruz said participants can walk, run, ride a bike or participate in any physical activity to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. They have until May 28 to count their steps and raise money.
“There are currently about 17,000 individuals who are living with dementia [in York Region] and we are promoting that people do walk 17,000 steps to represent one step for each person in York Region who is living with a diagnosis,” she said.
Cruz said they want all the money raised in York Region to stay in York Region, and that they are trying to expand and bring programs to the Georgina region to help those who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and bring services to caregivers and clients.
“We really appreciate the support we’ve been getting, and we’re going to try and raise as much money as we can and get the word out there. We really are grateful to those who are donating, or even just spreading the word and sharing the event,” Ainsworth said.
You can register for the walk or donate to Ainsworth and his families walk at www.alzgiving.ca.
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