For the first time in 52 years, Percy Barnes is learning to live alone. He’s keeping himself busy by folding hospital corners on the bed sheets, volunteering at his church, learning the ukulele and walking his Shih Tzu-poodle Maggie, the real boss of the household. He’s also reflecting on the life he shared with his wife, Leone, who was in the later stages of dementia and moved into long-term care during the pandemic. Leone passed away in the fall.
“My greatest achievement was when Leone accepted me to be her husband,” Percy said. “I almost fell off the couch.”
Percy is among the people affected by dementia who are being honoured at the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s this May. This event is the largest fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and, this year, participants are encouraged to join the Walk on Sunday, May 29 to celebrate and remember the people in their lives who have been affected by dementia.
“When Leone went away, I put a brick wall up in front of me and I’m trying to get out from behind it,” Percy says. “I was so afraid to talk about dementia but learned to speak up and admit it’s a disease. So many people suffer in silence because of the stigma. Nobody wants to talk about dementia.”
Percy is grateful for the staff at Tabor Village who provided the level of care he knew Leone needed through to the end of her life. He now manages the grief by sharing his story and talking openly about his mental health at an Alzheimer Society of B.C. virtual caregiver support group. For Percy, the group is also a way to get practical tips on how to cope from others facing similar challenges.
Funds raised for the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s help British Columbians at any stage in the dementia journey by supporting the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s programs and services. On Sunday, May 29, 2022, participants will be walking in communities around B.C., including in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Coquitlam and Burnaby. To learn about other walks taking place around the province, register for the event or make a donation, visit walkforalzheimers.ca.
If you are affected by dementia, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. can help. Call the First Link® Dementia Helpline at