When you need support, knowing how to effectively ask for what you need is key.
For Kelowna families living with dementia, it’s an essential skill. They have to navigate a complex health-care system to get care for their family member. Accessing services, writing letters — it can all be part of a family caregiver’s new role. And in this new role, caregivers can benefit from learning advocacy strategies.
“Advocacy simply means speaking up — for yourself or for someone else,” said Carly Gronlund, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s support and education coordinator for Kelowna and the North and Central Okanagan region.
People with dementia often are unable to make their needs and wishes known, or may not be listened to, so somebody else has to speak to doctors, caregivers, health-care providers and other professionals.
“The advocate’s main job is to communicate, and there can be a lot of communicating to do,” said Gronlund.
Navigating a complex health-care system can be confusing. Families find they need to follow up and advocate to ensure the person’s needs are met.
Fortunately, the society offers plenty of help to develop a strong and effective voice.
Its free Dementia Dialogues series comes to Kelowna on Tuesday, Oct. 10 with a session called Advocacy Tips for Caregivers.
Participants will learn how to become more successful advocates for themselves and the people they care for. They will learn tips and strategies to help them speak up and ask for what they need in a more effective way.
The workshop runs from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Alzheimer Resource Centre, 307 – 1664 Richter Street.
Pre-registration is required. For information and to sign up, contact the centre at 250-860-0305 (toll-free 1-800-634-3399) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dementia Dialogues are interactive learning opportunities for family caregivers to connect with one another and increase their knowledge about dementia and caregiving skills. Each session is an opportunity to learn about a different caregiving topic followed by a guided discussion. The informal sessions are facilitated to allow caregivers to share their experiences and to take home practical information.
First Link® dementia support connects individuals with dementia and their family and friends to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. at any stage of the disease. If you are living with dementia or have questions, you can call the First Link® Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033.
More information on living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is available at www.alzheimerbc.org.