Joined by her daughter Emily (right) and the rest of their family, Kathy Collins hopes to raise awareness about early onset dementia. (Submitted)

Cowichan sisters go viral on TikTok for early onset dementia awareness efforts

It was just two years ago that Jean Collins’s sister Kathy was diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

It was just two years ago that Jean Collins’s sister Kathy was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. She was 57 at the time.

With her parents Margaret and John, and her sister Jean by her side, caring for her daily, as well as her daughter Emily also collaboratively involved in her care, Kathy has a good solid support network here in the Cowichan Valley.

She and Jean also have a little secret. They’ve got almost 80,000 TikTok followers.

The sisters’ videos are a light-hearted, funny, and raw look at life with early-onset dementia and they will continue until Kathy’s capacities diminish.

“We feel that Kathy has an important story to share with others around this prevalent diagnosis and the best ways to support families who are coping with it,” said Jean.

The family can thank COVID-19 for getting them hooked on the social media megalith that is TikTok.

“In the midst of pandemic and being bored out of our minds, we downloaded the TikTok app,” Jean added. “We started making a few videos about Alzheimer’s and…she went viral! People resonated with Kathy and her account has swelled to almost 80,000 followers.”

While the sisters were pleased to be getting such a big audience to raise some awareness about Alzheimer’s, they did not expect what came next.

“Recently, a TikTok exploded on the app — over five million views — of a family yelling, swearing and mocking a family member with Alzheimer’s,” Jean said.

What’s more, her sister Kathy stumbled across the post and was very upset by it.

“We both truly feel that when people know better, they DO better,” Jean said. “Kathy’s mission is to spread awareness and support for people and their families who are struggling with this dreaded diagnosis.”

Jean said caring for a person with dementia is not at all easy, so she feels for the people in the viral video.

“God bless them,” she added. “I’m sure they love their mom and they’re doing their best, but they’re doing it wrong.”

Given Cowichan is a small community and the already limited resources are further strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, “for the most part, unless someone’s in long term care, for the most part people are being cared for by family members.” Jean said.

If the dynamic duo can have one message sink in, it’s this: “When you’re interacting with people with dementia, it’s to keep things calm and cool and contented.”

Get to know Kathy and Jean by visiting https://www.tiktok.com/@thekathyproject. You don’t need a TikTok account to view their page.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alzheimer's Diseasecowichan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

After testing, Island Health deems water safe around industrial fire site

Concerns about water quality arose after Sept. 10-11 fire at Schnitzer facility in Cassidy

Ladysmith Downtown Public Washroom project a semi-finalist for FortisBC grant

If successful, the project will gain $15,000 in funding from FortisBC

Council sets February 2021 as kick off for engagement on Official Community Plan

The scope of the OCP will be ‘comprehensive and new’

Trail proposed to connect Cedar and Yellow Point

The Yellow Point Ecological Society, (YES) is proposing a 22km multi-use trail… Continue reading

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

Most Read