Alzheimer Society to talk taboo subjects Nov. 29 in Napanee

Sarah Williams
Beaver Staff

The Alzheimer Society of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington wants to help inform and support local caregivers.

To that end, they are hosting a conference, Not So Taboo Taboos: Discussing Drugs, Sexuality and Safety in Dementia, in order to help answer questions that otherwise would go unanswered.

The event will take place on Friday, Nov. 29 at Dog House Studios, located on 99 Dairy Avenue in Napanee.

As Vicki Poffley, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of KFLA explains, this is one of a string of conferences hosted annually. However, it is the first to be held since opening their new Napanee location.

The society has been around since 1981, but it’s only in the past year that an office has opened in Napanee, sharing a space with the Napanee Community Health Centre at 26 Dundas Street West.

“We’ve always provided services for the Napanee Community, but the time had come where we really wanted to be in the community and very accessible for those walking this journey in Lennox and Addington,” said Poffley.

Poffley also explains that for each of their yearly conferences, they try to pick topics of discussion that are commonly felt amongst frontline care workers.

“This year, we’re going a little outside of what we’ve normally done,” said Poffley. “We’ve picked topics that still, in today’s society, are somewhat taboo. Not just a generational taboo, but we don’t talk about these things amongst our friends, let alone a group of strangers.”

Poffley further explains that, whether it be from a paid caregiver or someone caring for a loved one, there are a lot of questions surrounding these topics that need to be answered.

Topics to be discussed include: anti-psychotic drugs versus cannabis in the elderly, sexual intimacy, safety in the community, and listening as a caregiver to stories of dementia.

Speakers will include Dr. Jonathan  Bertram, a family medicine physician, Darcy King McKay, RN and psychogeriatric resource consultant and Brad Milburn, of the emergency response team and O.P.P.

As well, Mike Barnes, author of Be With: Letters to a Caregiver, will be talking about his experience caring for his mother.

The conference is open to those working in the healthcare system with the elderly or working directly with those living with dementia. It is also open to the partners and caregivers of people living with dementia.

The conference will also provide on-site respite services for up to 15 individuals so that their care providers can attend.

Tickets are $40 for healthcare providers, $25 for caregivers and respite care is $15 extra, if required. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. Included in the cost of the ticket is a continental breakfast, lunch and snacks.

Poffley stated that, so far, they’ve sold about 66 tickets. Participants are encouraged to register by Nov. 22 to ensure their spot.

“All the money raised or donated stays in our community,” stated Poffley. “It helps us provide services and support. We just reinvest everything into providing opportunities like this, as well as supporting individuals, groups, and recreational programs.”

To register call the Alzheimer Society at 613-544-3078, by emailing or online at (title: Discussing Drugs, Sexuality and Safety in Dementia).

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