Workshop offered to caregivers

Knowledge is power, especially for families in Vernon with a family member living with dementia.

Knowledge is power, especially for families in Vernon with a family member living with dementia.

“It is through education that caregivers understand the disease and learn effective strategies to deal with changing communication and behaviors,” said Carly Gronlund, the Alzheimer Society’s support and education co-ordinator for Vernon and the North Okanagan.

“With this new understanding caregivers become empowered and they are ultimately more resilient on the dementia journey.”

And that’s critical, given the importance of caregivers to the quality of life of the person they care for, who generally requires increasing levels of care.

“Without caregivers, people with dementia would have an increasingly poorer quality of life and would need residential care more quickly,” said Gronlund.

The support, though, can come at a cost: caregiver exhaustion. And that’s why the society is bringing its free family caregiver workshop to the area for three weeks beginning this Wednesday.

The three-hour sessions help caregivers learn strategies to care for someone with dementia and to take care of their own health, to ensure they are prepared to continue to provide care to their family members.

“We provide practical techniques and strategies that caregivers can begin using immediately,” said Gronlund.

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 workshop runs July 15, 22 and 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the People Place, 3402 27th Ave. Pre-registration is required. For information and to register, contact Gronlund at 1-800-634-3399 or cgronlund@alzheimerbc.org.

The workshop is free thanks to partial funding from the provincial government, the Provincial Employees Community Services Fund, Seacliff Foundation, the RBC Foundation, Phyliss and Irving Snider Foundation, the Victoria Foundation, Paul Lee Family Foundation, Merck Canada, Community Connection Health Foundation, the Margaret Rothweiler Charitable Foundation, Cadillac Fairview, Lohn Foundation, Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation, Pfizer Canada Inc., Kaatza Foundation, the London Drugs Foundation, the Wheeler Family Foundation and individual donors.

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