Are we eligible?

The inclusion criteria for this active wellness service are:

  • Dementia diagnosis before 65 years, OR later diagnosis with prior symptoms
  • Secure environment not required (e.g. not at risk of leaving facility unsupervised)
  • Self-ambulatory; medically stable; cleared for physical activity
  • Willing and able to participate safely in individual or group activities
  • Able to manage own activities of daily living and medications with reminders
What is the first step? Do I need a doctor’s referral?

No, self/family referral is also appropriate, with a record of the diagnosis
Register here to arrange a family assessment interview with recreation therapist

Currently, the pilot service is full and the evaluation is underway. Families will be considered for future openings according to the date of registration.

Why Recreation Therapy?
Families tell us they don’t want their person to be thought of as a ‘patient’; the diagnosis may be terminal, but there is life yet to live!

Recreation Therapists assist people with rehabilitation after an illness/injury for optimal health in their community. This proactive recreation approach provides clinical support yet imitates real life by addressing all aspects of health and well-being. Ongoing evaluation tailored to the individual allows adaptive support for disease transitions according to their needs and interests.

Meet our recreation therapy team to see their qualifications and particular interest in addressing the needs of younger people with dementia.

How do you keep participants safe?

Safety for everyone – participants, volunteers and therapists – is a top priority. The recreation therapy team is assisted by volunteers in a ratio of at least one to every two participants. After initial assessment for suitability to an unsecured public facility, the team monitors each participant’s needs and assigns coverage accordingly.

However, families have asked for, and we believe in, ‘the dignity of risk’. People with young onset dementia are typically in otherwise good physical health and keen to be active and interested in life’s routines. We move about in large and small groups, according to individual interests with the intent of ‘being alongside’ our participants to normalize the day. Our active approach could lead to a sports injury by virtue of doing sports, but rest assured safety is top of mind.

We carry service provider insurance and are covered by the campus policy for any incident. We’re proud to say that several of our volunteers are also nurses!

What happens when the person turns 65?
Participants who meet the inclusion criteria above are welcome to attend after this milestone birthday and the recreation therapists will continue ongoing assistance and evaluation. If the disease progresses such that active participation cannot be sustained, families will be assisted to transition.
Where/When does YouQuest operate?
Currently, Thursdays @ SAIT (9:00am – 4:30pm)
Stay tuned as funding is secured for more service days!
We can’t join now, but is there a waitlist?

Yes, please register to be on our waitlist; participants will be assessed in order. In the meantime, we encourage families to join our social community for access resources and support.

What is the daily cost per participant? Do I need to send money?
No, the service is all-inclusive and supported by our external funders.

The daily fee to families is $50/participant and includes our skilled Recreation Therapists, coffee/snacks, restaurant lunch, access to all fitness amenities/events, and home-base space throughout the day.

What are the transportation arrangements?

At this time, drop-off/pick-up is arranged and provided by families:

By family/friend care partners to and from service location; there is a 30-minute traffic window from 8:30-9:00 am and 4:00-4:30 pm and staff will always remain on site until all participants arrive or depart.

By Access Calgary with transit tickets; families arrange eligibility interview. Trips are scheduled where volunteers meet/send participants with drivers. Arrivals are planned for 9:00 am; departures are between 4:00-4:20pm

What does a participant need to bring/wear?
Dress comfortably in layers for an active day according to personal preference and the weather as we are often outdoors. T-shirt, light sweats/shorts are recommended for the gym. Non-marking running shoes for the gym are essential.

Any belongings should be in a marked bag as we do not yet have on-site storage. We ask that valuables and money be left at home. Drinking water is provided and encouraged throughout the day.

What forms of payment do you accept?

Payments can be made by e-transfer, Visa, MasterCard, or cheque as you prefer. Families will be invoiced for participation every six weeks via email. Receipts are provided in the participant’s name for medical record-keeping.

Why volunteer with YouQuest?

It’s a great gig – you’ll have active days in the community, and a bonus, you’re helping people and families to reset and enjoy life despite dementia.

If you prefer, we also have off-site volunteers, so feel free to explore either option on our volunteer application.

What does the YouQuest day look like?

Like most people, we grab a coffee, snack, and have a chat to get the day started! Then we make choices – in fitness activities, at lunch, in the outdoors, and for relaxation, such as enjoying our house band of volunteer musicians to end each day on a great note!

Everyone joins in the day’s activities by getting to know one another and anticipating what participants need to succeed.
We help with transitions, directions, choices, but mostly we enjoy sharing time and conversation with others.

How do I become a volunteer?

For ON-site with participants, sign up here
For OFF-site (e.g. committees), use this link

Our Volunteer Coordinator will then arrange a telephone interview to learn more about you and answer any questions. If we both decide we’re a match, documentation and orientation will follow so you can get started!

Are police information/vulnerable sector checks required?
Yes, because volunteers are in a position of trust with vulnerable persons due to a cognitive disability.

After the phone interview, we can email you a letter to request the clearance from your local police station. The cost should be reduced to $15; later in 2019 we will qualify for the fee waiver.

How do you orient and train volunteers?
We provide background information about young onset dementia and hold volunteer coaching sessions to orient you to our routines, staff, fellow volunteers and participants.

Whether you have experience with dementia or are keen to learn about young onset in particular, we are primarily interested in friendly, helpful, ‘can-do’ people who want to help others have a good day.

How do I specify my availability and preferences?
We discuss scheduling in general during the telephone interview; if it works for both of us, we send you a link to gather information about shifts and activities.

We suggest shifts of 3+ hours, during the morning, midday and afternoon to help us overlap volunteer support. We will work out a schedule that suits your availability.

What should I wear/bring?

Time is limited so dress for active participation, in layers and according to the weather as getting outdoors is a priority. Non-marking shoes are required for gym. All equipment is provided on-site for activities.

Belongings can be locked in our home-base room when we’re on the move; fitness lockers are available but the priority is who you’re with and what they need. Valuables should be left at home, except a cell phone that is very useful for communicating with team members.

How do I access SAIT each day? Is there Parking? LRT?

SAIT is directly on the LRT service that conveniently stops beside Campus Centre at SAIT/ACAD/Jubilee station.

Pay parking is available on campus, and the former Sears lot at North Hill Centre is also a good option. Unfortunately, we are not able to reimburse transportation costs as a nonprofit organization.

What age defines a young onset dementia diagnosis?
The clinical definition is based on age; at 65 years, the health and tax systems deem you a senior. People with young onset dementia are pre-senior and therefore not eligible for, or cannot access, many resources.
Why did YouQuest start as a pilot?
There is an immediate need to support people with young onset dementia and their families. We launched a practical daytime format to test if this community-based approach meets family needs.

We put a one-year timeframe on the pilot to demonstrate this proactive approach is feasible. The formal evaluation will report on outcomes for funders. We are confident this pilot will show that people who are engaged in their community have a better quality of life.

May I support a particular person or activity?
Yes, let’s have a conversation! We can give you a menu of choices or Check out our inquiry form

If you prefer, ask us about a planned giving option to suit your preferences.

How does YouQuest support our family care partners?

Our community is a resource for service day logistics, information and social connections. We listen to families about what they need and involve them directly in our service evaluation. We invite ongoing feedback to develop more family support options as we grow.

Do you provide tax donation receipts?
Yes, we are a registered charity (#72975 8912 RR0001).
How can my company get I involved?
There are so many ways: A referral to someone in your network? Creating opportunities for people to learn about young onset dementia, and how it might impact the workplace? Interested staff with a particular skill? Participation in a community event? Contact us to chat!