Mayor Cote shares his family’s struggle with Alzheimer’s
By Colten Kamlade, Staff Reporter
This month is now Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in New Westminster after Mayor Jonathan Cote proclaimed it so at a New Westminster city council meeting January 8.
Cote opened up about his own family and their experience with the disorder, and commented on New Westminster’s role in helping those affected by Alzheimer’s.
“I think it’s hard to find anyone whose family isn’t some way touched with dementia or Alzheimer’s. I know our family is struggling with a family member who has got Alzheimer’s, and I think we’re all quite proud that the City of New Westminster is leading the way in terms of becoming a dementia-friendly community,” he said. “[We] are continuing to do our policy work to say what [that actually means] from a community standpoint, but as cities continue to age and the demographics begin to age, I think it’s going to become more critically important for communities to make sure they’re being inclusive and accessible.”
Cote read off the proclamation, which sketched a picture of what Alzheimer’s is, and how the city should respond to the needs of those suffering from such disorders.
“All British Columbians need to be better informed about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and work to create more supportive and inclusive communities … the City of New Westminster is committed to achieving meaningful outcomes for people with dementia and their caregivers that are person-centred and effective,” he said. “And … the Alzheimer Society of BC is committed to building a dementia friendly BC, where people living with the disease, the caregivers, and their families are welcome, included, and supported. Now therefore I, Jonathan Cote, mayor of the City of New Westminster, do hereby proclaim the month of January 2018 as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in the City of New Westminster.”
According to the Alzheimer Society of BC website, the New Westminster city council has also received training from them, and is the first local government in BC to do so.
“In January, 2015 the City of New Westminster became the first council to become dementia-friendly by receiving dementia friends education from the Alzheimer Society of BC,” says the website. “Since then the society has been working closely with the City of New Westminster to support the development of a dementia-friendly action plan.”