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For Support in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and Punjabi

Indus Community Services has been one of the agencies funded to contribute to raising awareness in the South Asian Communities. Indus will be developing dementia guides and information tailored for the South Asian communities by providing them with language specific workshops, activity kits, and culturally appropriate awareness-raising campaigns on dementia and brain health.

For information in Hindi, click here.

For information in Punjabi, click here.


What is dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms affecting brain function that are caused by neurodegenerative and vascular diseases or injuries. It is characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities (1). These abilities can include (2):
  • Memory
  • Awareness of person, place and time
  • Language- may forget simple words or use the wrong words
  • Basic math skills
  • Judgment
  • Abstract Thinking
  • Dementia can also affect mood, emotions and behaviour
It is estimated that almost 452,000 Canadians over the age of 65 were living with diagnosed dementia in Canada between April 2017 and March 2018, almost two-thirds of whom were women (3). According to the 2016 Census, 1,924,635 people reported being South Asian, representing one-quarter (25.1%) of the visible minority population and 5.6% of the entire Canadian population. This means South Asians also make up a significant portion of the 452,000 Canadians living with dementia.  
Types of dementia
Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and other thinking abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life.     Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Most types of dementia are nonreversible (degenerative). Nonreversible means the changes in the brain that are causing the dementia cannot be stopped or turned back (5).
The difference between aging and aging with dementia
While dementia is not an inevitable part of aging, age is the most important risk factor. Aging may include weakening muscles and bones, stiffening of arteries and vessels, and some age-related memory changes that may show as (6):  
Signs of DementiaAge Related Changes

Language (If they speak more than one language, they may go back to the language they spoke growing up)Occasional difficulty in finding words
Using unusual words to refer to familiar objects or difficulty expressing themselves Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
Not recognizing your keys as your own, or forgetting what they doOccasionally misplacing car keys or items
Not recognizing a family member or friendForgetting the name of an acquaintance
History of getting lost in a familiar neighborhood/routes Knowledge and experiences built over years, old memories, and language would stay intact
Forgetting old memoriesForgetting the most recent events
Cognitive skills (thinking and interpreting meaning) Taking longer to process information

Other dementia symptoms

How is dementia diagnosed?
  • A healthcare provider can perform tests on attention, memory, problem solving and other cognitive abilities to see if there is cause for concern(7). A physical exam, blood tests, and brain scans like a CT or MRI can help determine an underlying cause.
  • A doctor may refer you to a geriatrician for further diagnosis. There is great importance in diagnosing dementia, and the responsibility lies with the doctor. As part of the diagnostic process, diseases with symptoms similar to dementia are excluded. Through timely diagnosis and medical support, it can help alleviate or slow the onset of symptoms. Medication may be initiated to delay dementia symptoms and manage behavioral problems. Additionally, activities that stimulate the senses (such as listening to music), that stimulate the mind (such as memory games), and physical activity can help alleviate symptoms. The doctor's evaluation plays a vital role in initiating the appropriate treatment plan and follow-up determined by the specialist doctor.
How can I interact with someone with dementia?
  • Be patient and understanding
  • Use simple words, simple sentences, and also use gestures to indicate what you are saying. – Closed ended questions (yes/no)
  • Approach from the front and clear line of site
  • Give the person time to understand and respond thoughtfully
  • Watch the person's reaction carefully, and adjust your tone accordingly
  • Provide reassurance
  • Guide or accompany them where needed
  • Provide visual cues or write them down
  • Show understanding by supporting the person's reality
  • Find and create moments of joy and laughter by praising the individual and having fun with them


We are offering free Dementia Activity Kits to Ontario residents. These kits are a great way to promote and stimulate engagement and enjoyment for persons living with dementia. These mind stimulating activities can help individuals express themselves through creativity, socialization, brain stimulation, and help exercise their cognitive abilities.

Each kit will include the following:

Option 1: With the pet

Option 2: Without the pet

The Joy for all pets (limited quantity): This interactive pet has a unique ability to engage, delight, and enhance meaningful connections. It also provides companionship and promote happiness

Bloom Colouring Book & Markers: Coloring is a healthy way to relieve stress. It calms the brain and helps your body to relax. This can improve sleep and fatigue while decreasing body aches, heart rate, respiration, and feelings of depression and anxiety.

Easy Brain Exercise Book: Regular mental aerobic exercise boosts blood flow to your brain, and improves verbal memory and learning.

Jigsaw Puzzle: Studies have shown that jigsaw puzzles can help improve visual-spatial reasoning, short-term memory, and problem-solving skills as well as combat cognitive decline, which can reduce risk of developing dementia.

Fidget Toy: These come in various forms — such as cubes, spinners, and balls — and they are popular among those who find it difficult to stay still. Although there is a lack of large-scale scientific evidence confirming their effectiveness, these toys are a popular way to counter stress and anxiety.

Aqua Paint: For seniors with dementia, painting can help create connections and encourage passions that can cut through the fog of memory loss.