By Cindy Grant, Terry Mactaggart, and Larry W. Chambers
The Learn & Live program is a new initiative that arose from one of the recommendations in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Wellness Committee’s report to council.
A small steering committee of local people has been meeting since the spring of 2021 to develop this initiative; the program will present a curriculum of themed seminars and discussion groups around a variety of topics delivered over a period of several months. The Learn & Live program will be integrated with other programming offered by the NOTL Public Library.
During the fall of 2021, the theme for the 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday sessions will be “Coming of Age: Wellness of Learning.” All sessions are being held in-person at the NOTL Public Library. To register go to https://notlpubliclibrary.libnet.info/event/5610681
Due to COVID restrictions, in-person attendance is limited to 25 seats. All sessions will be broadcast live through the library’s facebook page and will be available on the library’s Youtube site following each session.
The three sessions are:
October 12: The Emotional Wellness of Learning, led by Dr. Ron Clavier
November 9: Reduce your Risk of Dementia, led by Dr. Larry W. Chambers
December 14: Aging Well, led by Dr. Sam Thrall
Dr. Clavier, brain scientist and clinical psychologist who lives in NOTL, will describe how learning is our most powerful tool to reach emotional wellness. Even in the best of times, money, food, employment insecurities, housing problems, and family turmoil are just a few of the threats that can leave us feeling anxious and depressed. These feelings are often worsened significantly during times of socio-political upheaval, climate change, and a global pandemic.
Dr. Clavier acknowledges that we may not be able to eradicate such threats. But he will introduce effective neuroscience-based learning strategies that identify and challenge the negative self-images and attitudes that these threats can engender. Importantly, these strategies can be learned in early childhood; by rewarding healthy brain functioning, they work for people of all ages. Learning is the gift that frees people to change their minds about their personal situations and gives them hope that things can, indeed, improve.
Dr. Chambers, former scientific advisor to the Alzheimer Society of Canada and Research Director of the Niagara Regional Campus of the McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, will speak on how we hear many people and care providers talking about “confused older people,” but these people talking about older people are confused. There is widespread confusion about, for example, the relationship between normal aging and dementia, and the relationship between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to this ignorance, there are many wrong beliefs about dementia and normal aging. Almost all of these errors sustain the belief that until a drug for Alzheimer’s disease is developed there is nothing that an individual or society can do about dementia. However, there is strong evidence: first, that the brain is plastic, not static, and can improve at any age; second, that action can be taken by both individuals and society to reduce the risk of dementia. Research and development on interventions to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s is of vital importance, but there is strong evidence that other causes of dementia can be prevented or reversed.
Dr. Thrall, geriatrician at Niagara Health and an Assistant Professor, Niagara Regional Campus, McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, will address questions including: What is healthy aging? What does it look like? Can we stave off frailty, dependency, and cognitive impairment, or are they inevitable? What can you do to age well? Come and hear what a physician, who specializes in the care of older adults with complex issues, has to say about these important questions.
If you have questions about the program or suggestions for future programs, please contact Cindy Grant Cgrant36@cogeco.ca or Terry Mactaggart firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you on Oct 12!