An increasing number of Ladysmith residents are finding themselves in the informal role of caregiver for a family member. The reason? Dementia, the medical term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain.
The illness is becoming more common as our population ages. Already B.C. families provide 33.1 million hours of unpaid care to people with dementia per year, says Jane Hope, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Support & Education Coordinator for Ladysmith and the Central & North Island.
And women account for 70 per cent of the caregivers.
“The physical and psychological toll on family caregivers is considerable,” Hope says.
Knowing the signs of caregiver stress and finding ways to get support are important for both families and those they are caring for. To help families on the dementia journey, the Society brings its free two-part Family Caregiver Series workshop to Ladysmith beginning on May 10.
Caregivers will 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 for their family members. “We provide practical techniques and strategies that caregivers can begin using immediately,” Hope says.
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 on Tuesdays, May 10 and 17 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Ladysmith Resources Centre, 630 – 2nd Avenue. Pre-registration is required. For information and to register, contact Barb at Ladysmith Resources Centre Association at 250-245-3079 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on Alzheimer’s and other dementias is available by visiting www.alzheimerbc.org.