Friday, 28 September 2012

See a movie this weekend!

Are you looking for something to enjoy indoors this weekend with family and friends, now that fall weather is here and the evenings are getting a little crisp? Try out ROBOT & FRANK, a recent  release from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Light-hearted and fun, the film also focuses on a near future where highly technological aids make coping with memory loss easier and re-invigorate the lives of everyone affected.

Movie poster for Robot & Frank 2012

Synopsis from the Princess Cinemas website:
An aging thief with a fading memory finds his love for larceny reinvigorated after receiving a companion robot from his concerned son in this tender sci-fi comedy-drama starring Academy Award nominee Frank Langella. Frank (Langella) is a former criminal living out his twilight years in quiet solitude. Though frequent trips to the local library keep him physically active and mentally stimulated, there's little question that his memory isn't what it used to be, and lately his grown children have begun to express concern over the fact that he lives alone. Bestowed a caretaker robot capable of offering engaging interaction and tending to basic household chores, Frank at first resents his android helper. But in time he lets his guard down and begins to actually enjoy the companionship of his new domestic partner. Later, when the future of the local library is threatened, Frank falls back into his old ways and discovers that his robot also doubles as a competent criminal sidekick.

Click here for showtimes on the Princess Cinemas website.
Princess Cinema and Princess Twin Cinema are located at Princess and King Street in Uptown Waterloo.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Memory and Techne, a collaborative classroom

This semester, MAREP is forming a new partnership and collaborating with the University of Waterloo Critical Media Lab. In a graduate class called Memory and Techne, offered through the CML, Professor Marcel O'Gorman and his students are thinking about memory and the cognitive processes of forgetting, and in particular the effects of dementia. Students will work directly with MAREP to create design projects that would hopefully better support persons living with dementia and their family partners in care.  In particular, students will develop projects that make use of digital media to advance Alzheimer's research and education. The project may range from the creation of hands-on digital "make" workshops for persons living with dementia to the design of an app to improve communication between persons with dementia and their families.

On Tuesday December 1, 2012, MAREP and the students at the Critical Media Lab will host a public exhibition of these projects for persons living with dementia and their partners in care, the local community, and other students. Watch for an upcoming invitation on our blog!

Some of the course readings include narrative accounts of living with dementia, like Lisa Genova's novel, Still Alice, and When I Was Young & In My Prime by Alayna Munce.

Image of book cover for Still Alice, a novel by Lisa GenovaImage of book cover for When I was young & in my prime, by Alayna Munce

Other readings include Jose Van Dijck's Mediated Memories in the Digital Age.

In the past, students of the Critical Media Lab have produced other fascinating projects including:
  • Cabinets of Curiosity- critical arcade games installed at THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener;
  • Geomosaic- a GPS-tracking artwork in Victoria Park
  • Teat Tweet: Dairy Diary- a collaboration with a local dairy farmer, Twitter and robotic milking systems that demonstrated to the public where milk comes from.
This term, working with MAREP at the conclusion of the class:
students will develop projects that make use of digital media to advance Alzheimer's research and education. The project may range from the creation of hands-on digital "make" workshops for Alzheimer's patients to the design of an app to improve communication between persons with dementia and their families.
MAREP looks forward to collaborating with the students in Professor O'Gorman's Memory and Techne class!

The University of Waterloo Critical Media Lab fosters the creation of new media projects that explore the impact of technology on the human condition. The lab is located in downtown Kitchener at 158 King Street West, next to City Hall and The Artery Gallery.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Alzheimer Society Coffee Break fundraiser

Thanks to the AHS faculty, staff, and students, and everyone who attended the "Coffee Break" fundraising event on September 18!

Your generosity helped MAREP and the Alzheimer Society of Kitchener-Waterloo raise $466.46 for the local Alzheimer Society chapter. This annual fundraising initiative helps to support the programs and services provided by the Alzheimer KW to persons living with dementia and their care partners in our community.

"Coffee Break" at the Fireplace Lounge in LHS with Lisa Loiselle, Jessica Luh Kim, Jennifer Gillies, and Darla Fortune.

Jennifer Gillies, formerly MAREP staff and now the Executive Director of Alzheimer Society of Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge, dropped in to show her support. Thank you, Jennifer, for your effort in cultivating and maintaining partnerships in the community for dementia care! Read her reflections on leaving MAREP and beginning her new journey by clicking here.

Get involved

Alzheimer Society Coffee Break is a nationwide fundraiser that continues throughout the month of October. Would you like to participate in a local Coffee Break or host one with your organization, community, friends, or family? Find out how by clicking here.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Jennifer Gillies- Farewell to MAREP; Hello to a New Partnership

After working with MAREP over the past seven years, it is with both sadness and excitement that announce I  am embarking on a new journey as the Executive Director for the Alzheimer Society of Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge.  As I sit to write this on my last day of work with MAREP, I cannot help but reflect on the amazing experiences I had, and partnerships I have developed.

I first became a Research Assistant in 2005 as a new PhD student at the University of Waterloo. One of my responsibilities was to attend A Changing Melody and interview forum participants, in order to understand the impact the forum had on them. At the same time, I started to become aware of the impact that this forum, and MAREP, was having on me. I began to see dementia and aging from a new perspective - one that associates dementia with empowerment, advocacy, and courage.

Throughout the years, I had the privilege of working on innovative research and education projects that enhance quality of life for persons with dementia and their care partners.  One of my fondest memories was travelling across Ontario with an inter-disciplinary team of researchers and actors to research the impact of I’m Still Here, a research-based drama that changes actions and images of dementia.

In 2007, I served as Acting Associate Director of Research. During this time, I was welcomed into the homes of our partners to help create two By Us For Us guides: resources that help persons with dementia and their care partners better live with dementia. I worked with a team of persons with dementia, their families, and numerous organizations to host A Changing Melody. There,  I witnessed persons with dementia becoming empowered to advocate for change in their communities. I also helped develop the Changing Melody toolkit, a resource used by communities to host local learning and sharing forums.

In 2010, upon completion of my PhD, I returned to MAREP as a Postdoctoral Fellow. In this role, I had the honour of working with the Partnerships in Dementia Care (PiDC) Alliance, and specifically, with folks from the South West CCAC, Saint Elizabeth, One Care, and the Alzheimer Society of Huron County. Together, we were learning about the process of transforming the current care culture into person-centred and relationship-centred care.

Throughout all of these experiences one thing remains consistent - here is a group of dedicated individuals working collectively to enhance the lives of persons with dementia and their care partners. I can say with certainty that through the development of authentic partnerships we can make positive change. While I am going to miss working with the amazing MAREP team, I know that we will have opportunities to work collaboratively to improve dementia care in our communities in my new role. And with such amazing people working together, I am truly optimistic that we will achieve our goals.

Jennifer Gillies, Executive Director, Alzheimer Society of Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge
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