A new centre in Montreal will help Alzheimer’s patients and their families with support services and deal with a growing tide of people suffering from dementia.

The Montreal Alzheimer’s Society inaugurated the service centre on Monday. They say that the number of Canadians diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia, will affect over a million people by 2031.

The three-storey building at 4505 Notre-Dame Street West in the St. Henri area was renovated so people could feel relaxed and at home, said neuropsychologist Nora Kelner.

“We realized that people needed a homelike environment,” said Kelner, “where they can share their experience in a non-judgmental and supportive way.”

The new centre is equipped with consultation offices and a room for activities such as art therapy, but there are plans for more explains April Hayward, director of programs and services for the Montreal Alzheimer’s Society.

“What we hear a lot from caregivers is they need more breaks for themselves and activities for their loved ones,” said Hayward. “So part of the plan is to develop a permanent respite and activity centre.”

Kelner says this centre will be a lifeline for many, especially for some families in multicultural groups in Montreal where Alzheimer’s is rarely thought of because it is viewed as a normal part of aging.