TORONTO, Ont. (Thursday, March 17, 2011) - People with dementia will break the silence and talk candidly about the fear, stigma, challenges and triumphs of living with memory loss at a special interactive forum being held in conjunction with the 26th Annual Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International in Toronto from March 26 to 29.

A Changing Melody brings together people with early stage dementia, their families, friends, health care professionals and other care partners in a safe space to share and learn with and from each other. The forum, which takes place March 26, provides resources and support for making informed decisions about how to better live with dementia.

Session topics will include:

• Coping with stigma and fear

• Adapting to change so as to enhance well-being

• Enabling persons with dementia

• Creating strong partnerships in dementia care

"Seeing how people respond to what they hear and learn from others is incredibly satisfying," said Lynn Jackson, a planning committee member who is living with dementia. "In the past some have decided to become advocates themselves for the cause. This is so inspirational - a true testament to what a person can do even with a diagnosis of early dementia."

A Changing Melody is hosted by the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) at the University of Waterloo in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Alzheimer Societies in Ontario, and the Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International.

"People with dementia, family members and professionals experience personal transformations by interacting together at the forum. It is that powerful," said Sherry Dupuis, director of MAREP. "We are all changed people when we leave the event."

This is the first time A Changing Melody has involved presenters and participants from across Canada and around the globe, including Australia, Scotland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Finland.

Featured speakers at the day-long event include Australian author Christine Bryden, who was just 46 and a single mother of three when she was diagnosed with dementia. She will share her insights about the 16-year roller coaster of her life since diagnosis and her continuing struggle to live well with the disease.

Also on the day’s agenda is a theatre performance, titled "You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello," that addresses the negative stereotypes about the disease and recasts the long goodbye of Alzheimer's as the long hello of profound and new understandings. Based on the real life Alzheimer’s story of author Cathie Borrie and her mother, the presentation will feature Cathie and Canadian actress Patricia Bower as Cathie’s mother.

A Changing Melody will be broadcast live for people who can’t attend. To learn more or to register for the forum or broadcast, visit

For more information about the 26th Annual Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International, go to and follow the conference on Facebook and Twitter.


The Kenneth G. Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) is a major division of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute of Aging. Based in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo, MAREP is an innovative program that adopts an authentic partnership approach and integrates research and educational activities in an effort to improve dementia care practices in Canada and beyond. Its goal is to enhance the ability of all involved in dementia care, including persons with dementia, their family partners in care, and professional care partners, to respond to the needs of persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and ultimately improve the quality of life of all those experiencing dementia. For more information about MAREP, visit

About Alzheimer's Disease International

Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) is the international federation of over 70 Alzheimer associations. It was founded in 1984 as a network for Alzheimer associations around the world to share and exchange information, resources and skills. ADI is based in London and is registered as a non-profit organization in the USA. ADI has been in official relations with the World Health Organization since 1996. Each member is the national Alzheimer association in their country who support people with dementia and their families. ADI’s mission is to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their families throughout the world. Visit

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