Dealing with dementia

Upcoming workshops help Kelowna caregivers adjust to change

  • Fri Oct 3rd, 2014 5:00am
  • News

Dementia demands that family structures change, and there is no manual to teach Kelowna families how to negotiate those changes.

But that’s where the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C. can step in to provide assistance.

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,” said Carly Gronlund, the society’s support and education coordinator for the North and Central Okanagan regions.

“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,” Gronlund said.

That education can begin with two free workshops next month in Kelowna.

The Family Caregiver Series, which runs on three Fridays—Oct. 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 Ave. in Kelowna.

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,” said 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, Oct. 21, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Alzheimer Resource Centre, 307-1664 Richter St.

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 due to partial funding by the province, 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.