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Series supports caregivers

Families coping with dementia learn communication skills

A provincial non-profit society is offering a series of workshops for people who care for someone with dementia.

The Alzheimer Society of BC is running the Family Caregiver Series in Powell River on Monday, February 6 and 13. It is being held from 12:30 to 4:30 pm at the Powell River campus of Vancouver Island University (VIU).

Dementia often brings about changes in behaviour and communication, which can dramatically affect family caregivers. The series provides practical coping strategies for family members who are caring for a person with dementia.

“It is through education that caregivers understand the disease and learn effective strategies to deal with changing communication and behaviours,” said Kerri Sutherland, the society’s local support and education coordinator. “With this new understanding, caregivers become empowered and they are ultimately more resilient on the dementia journey.”

Topics that are covered in the series include: understanding dementia, communication and behaviours; planning for the future; and self-care for caregivers.

The Alzheimer Society of Canada released survey results last week that indicate a treatment gap has emerged for Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Low rates of awareness for the early signs of dementia prevent many people from seeking a diagnosis early in the stages of the disease, when they might otherwise access medical treatment and support.

The survey results indicate that almost half of respondents (44 per cent) waited at least a year to see a doctor because they thought their symptoms were simply “old age.”

Space in the Family Caregiver Series is limited, so pre-registration is mandatory and can be done by contacting VIU at 604.485.2878. The fee to register is $35, of which $25 goes to the society.

For more information, readers can contact Sutherland toll-free at 1.866.984.8348 or by email at