Dementia describes a condition that includes loss of memory, judgment and reasoning as well as changes in mood, behaviour and communication abilities.

“These symptoms affect someone’s ability to function at work, in social relationships or in their everyday activities,” says Linda Bird, Director, Programs and Services with the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia.

More than 14,000 Nova Scotians are living with dementia.

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, which causes thinking and memory to become impaired.

One in 11 Canadians over age 65 has Alzheimer's or a related disease. More than 14,000 Nova Scotians are living with dementia. Becoming informed is a crucial first step. The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia has lots of information about the symptoms, the diagnosis, disease progression, treatment options, and strategies for daily living.

Support for a loved one

Many family members and friends help support individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease.  In fact, 50 per cent of people with dementia live at home supported mainly by a family caregiver.

“As the disease progresses, the person with dementia becomes more and more dependant on others for physical, emotional and social support,” says Linda.

“Supporting individuals  with dementia can be very difficult,” she says. “Unfortunately, caregivers may neglect their own needs, avoid accepting help and  therefore often develop health problems of their own.”

The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia provides information, education, support, and referral to support persons with dementia and their families.

These include:

Alzheimer InfoLine: 1-800-611-6345

A free confidential call from anywhere in Nova Scotia. Trained staff provide information on issues related to Alzheimer’s and other dementias; listen to and discuss your questions and concerns; and help identify and refer you to resources in your community.

Caregiver Support Groups

The Alzheimer Society supports a province-wide network of 23 caregiver support groups. For people who care or have cared for someone with dementia, these groups offer a time and place to connect with people who truly understand.  They provide an opportunity to learn more about Alzheimer’s and other dementias, discuss difficult issues, and share strategies for coping.

Safely Home: Alzheimer Wandering Registry

Safely Home is a national program of the RCMP and the Alzheimer Society of Canada to help in the safe return home for people with dementia who may be lost. Approximately 300 Nova Scotians are currently registered with the program, and the number is expected to increase. To learn how to register, please call 422-7961 within Halifax and 1-800-611-6345 toll-free outside Metro Halifax.

Handrahan Resource Library

The Society’s resource library offers a wide selection of brochures, fact sheets, books, and videos about Alzheimer’s and related diseases. Books and videos are available for two-week loans. All materials can be ordered by visiting the office, by phone, fax, email or regular mail. For a complete list of available materials, please visit the resources section of

Provincial Library Partnership

The Society has partnered with the Nova Scotia Provincial Library to make it easier to get information on dementia. You can access a collection of books and videos through any of the public library branches or through your local Nova Scotia Community College library.

Public Education

ASNS staff and volunteers are available to give information presentations  to groups and organizations throughout Nova Scotia on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and the programs and services the Society offers.

For more information on Alzheimer disease and other dementias, and the programs and services available in your community, please call 422-7961 in Halifax or 1-800-611-6345 outside Metro or visit

Additional sources of information:

On Memory

The Alzheimer's Society of Canada

Alzheimer's Society