Dementia workshops help Kelowna caregivers adjust to change

There is no manual to teach Kelowna families how to negotiate changes associated with dementia. Workshops Oct. 10, 17 and 24 will help.

Dementia demands that family structures change, and there is no manual to teach Kelowna families how to negotiate those changes. Fortunately, that’s where the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C. comes in.

Through ongoing free education programs, the Society helps Kelowna families live well while caregiving for a person with dementia.

“At times this may feel overwhelming,” says Carly Gronlund, the society’s support & education coordinator for Kelowna and the North & Central Okanagan.

“By educating yourself about dementia and learning caregiving techniques, you have the ability to maintain quality of life for both you and the person you are caring for,” says Gronlund.

That education can begin with two free workshops next month in Kelowna.The Family Caregiver Series, which runs on three Fridays, October 10, 17 and 24, provides practical techniques and strategies that caregivers can begin using immediately.Topics to be covered include:

* Understanding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

* Effective and creative ways of facilitating communication with a person with dementia.

* Understanding behaviour as a form of communication.

* Self-care for the caregiver.

* Planning for the future.

The series runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Village at Mill Creek, 1450 Sutherland Avenue.

The second workshop, Life in Residential Care, focuses on the process of adjustment after a person with dementia has moved into a residential care facility.”We talk about the changes to your role as a caregiver that this transition can bring, and how to enhance your visits,” says Gronlund.

The session also reviews strategies for working effectively with a care team and offers tips for acting as an advocate within a residential care setting.

The workshop runs on Tuesday, October 21 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Alzheimer Resource Centre, 307-1664 Richter Street.

Pre-registration is required for the workshops. For information and to register, contact Carly Gronlund at 250-860-0305 or cgronlund@alzheimerbc.org.

The workshops are free thanks to partial funding by the Province of BC, Provincial Employees Community Services Fund, RBC Foundation, Seacliff Foundation, Pfizer Canada Inc., Merck Canada Inc., Mott Electric GP, Lohn Foundation, Al Roadburg Foundation, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., Frank and Yvonne McCracken Foundation, The Colin and Lois Pritchard Foundation and through the generous contributions of individual donors.

More information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as resources for living with their impact, are available by visiting www.alzheimerbc.org.