Tips and Tools
We, the Geri-Arctics, are seven adventurous friends aged between 64-74 years. We have trekked the coasts of England and Wales and have paddled the coast of B.C. in a 37' voyageur canoe. We are Chris (leader), Nancy, Richard, Susan, Sandy, and Alice and Fred. Some of us, including Fred, are former mountaineers.
Fred has Alzheimer's. This is an everyday journey that he and Alice are travelling, quite different from the wilderness adventures that have enriched their lives. This journey is eased with the knowledge gained through the educational and support programs and services offered by the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and their wonderful, understanding staff. These include dementia education programs such as Shaping the Journey for those living with Alzheimer's and their caregivers, how to capture memories to retain a sense of personhood, and regular support group meetings. Alzheimer's sneaks up on a person, makes little attacks that finally cannot be ignored. The attacks and disabling are faster and stronger in some people than in others. We are fortunate that Fred is currently stable - so off we go on another wilderness adventure, this time to the Arctic.
Chris and Sandy are experienced Arctic adventureres. All team members are understanding and supportive of Fred's needs. We are booked to fly north from Ottawa to Resolute via Iqaluit on May 20th, 2019 then on to southern Ellesmere Island by charter plane, returning about June 20th. We will ski/snowshoe/hike for a planned 150 km around Makinson Inlet, latitude ~77 degrees north. We want to have fun while experiencing the high Arctic environment in its springtime glory. The challenges of this journey will, to some extent, mirror the challenges of living with Alzheimer's.
We also want to raise awareness about, and funds for, programs and services offered by the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in the Fall of 2019, we made public presentations about our adventures at various libraries in the Lower Mainland. Proceeds of t-shirts for sale went to the Alzheimer Society of BC.
All participants arrived home in good health and high spirits after an amazing journey. Highlights included close, but quiet encounters with polar bears, including mother and cub, muskoxen in the distance, basking seals, a narwhal skull with 7' tooth, beautiful and tough, ground-hugging alpine plants, very strong winds, fascinating ice patterns, and 24 hour daylight. Fred was in his element and participated equally.
Alice presented "Geri-Arctics Adventures on Ellesemere Island" at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) on Sunday, Feb. 23rd, 2020, at the Inlet Theatre in Port Moody. It was a sold-out house.
The Geri-Arctics team thanks everyone who followed and supported our journey. We encourage you to continue supporting the Alzheimer Society in whatever way you can. And we encourage you to Follow Your Dream, whatever that might be.