SENIORS IN FOCUS: We Rage We Weep program comes to Sidney

A program for seniors with dementia will be making its way to Sidney. For Executive Director, Marjorie Moulton, it’s all about family.

Executive Director We Rage We Weep Alzheimer Foundation

Currently held in Oak Bay and Victoria, We Rage We Weep, a program for seniors with dementia, will be making its way to Sidney in the upcoming week, and for Executive Director, Marjorie Moulton, it’s all about family.

“My father had it (Alzheimer’s) so that’s really what started this whole sort of interest and journey around dementia,” she told the PNR.

Living in a rural part of B.C and searching for help, Moulton’s mother, being the primary caregiver of her husband, wanted to write something about the disease another experiences as a rural caregiver. And so, We Rage We Weep is a family story for Moulton as her mother, who has always been a writer, sparked the interest.

“And so I just sort of expanded on that and took the name and created the (We Wage We Weep) Alzheimer Foundation and have continued on from there with the concept really being to assist caregivers and families to care for their loved ones.”

Over more recent years, there has been a growing body of research about the benefits of arts on those with dementia, and Moulton said art and music is so strongly connected to emotion.

“When we hear a piece of music it affects us emotionally. And maybe it makes us feel really sad or really happy or it reminds us of a specific moment in time when that song was playing before and it takes us back to that.”

She added that the same goes for art, as people see a piece of art or watch a powerful performance and they can have a strong emotional reaction to that.

There are around 15,000 people that have some form of dementia on Vancouver Island, with around 5,000 of those from the Victoria area.

One of the interesting things about dementia Moulton said, is that it takes away all of people’s memories of detail, persons, places and familiar things — but it doesn’t take away their emotional selves.

“We still have that ability to connect and express on an emotional level, so that’s really where this type of an art and music program comes in is because art and music are so closely tied with emotion, we can still reach them, we can still communicate with them, they can still express themselves in a meaningful way,” she said.

The program that’s been currently running in Victoria and Oak Bay is full, but those wanting to register in the program that will now be in Sidney can do so by calling the SHOAL Centre.

The SHOAL Centre approached them, she continued, and asked if they’d be interested in trying to host the program out in Sidney and see how that went

“It’s hard to know at this point since were in such a preliminary stage, but I would think that the fit is right, the demographic is right and it’s important for people to have these kinds of services in their local community …

“We imagine it will probably start a little quieter and grow as word gets out,” said Moulton.

The program, which has been operating successfully since 2011, runs once a week on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and includes a music guide and an art guide.

The art guide will come in for the first hour of the session to lead individuals through an art project, and the music guide will then come in for the second half to lead them through music and singing.

The projects vary week to week, but Moulton said they try to keep it relevant to certain holidays, like making personalized Valentine’s Day cards on Valentines Day or painting eggs for Easter.

Operating nine months of the year, the program will begin Wednesday, Jan. 13 at the all-purpose room in the SHOAL Centre and will run through to June 29 and pick back up again from September to November.

All programs are by donation with a suggested donation of $10 for this particular one, and there will be around 15 participants taken into the program.