David, Ken and Stephanie all have early-stage dementia. Once a month they meet at their local Alzheimer Society of B.C. support group to talk about how their lives are affected by the disease.
“This is their lifeline,” said Jude Weir, the society’s support and education co-ordinator for Abbotsford and Mission. “The group is a place where they can talk openly, share information and give mutual support to others on the same journey.”
An estimated one in 11 B.C. residents over age 65 already lives with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. That number is projected to double within a generation (25 years). The resulting need for assistance is soaring.
Volunteers are needed to facilitate the society’s early stage support group as well as a caregiver support group in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.
These positions require excellent listening and empathetic skills and knowledge of dementia and facilitation or a willingness to learn. Formal or informal caregiving experience would be an asset. For the early-stage group, the society looks for volunteers who have an understanding of the experiences of people with early-stage dementia, plus sensitivity to the changes in memory, mood and communication.
Training is provided for both positions and a one-year commitment is required.
For more information and to volunteer, contact Weir at 604-859-3889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents can get more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by visiting www.alzheimerbc.org.