Caregivers learn to cope with transitions

NANAIMO – Families dealing with the impact of dementia have to cope with loss and grief

In just five years, as many as 50 per cent more Nanaimo residents and their families could be facing Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

One in 11 Canadians over 65 years of age suffer from Alzheimer`s or other dementias. And more than 19 percent of Nanaimo’s population was 65 and older in 2011.

Families dealing with the impact of dementia have to cope with loss and grief — the constant yet hidden companions of the disease, said Jane Hope, the society’s regional education and support coordinator.

“The dementia journey requires ongoing adjustment to many changes over a long period of time,” she said.

The changes occur throughout the early, middle and late stages of the disease, and result in feelings of loss.

“Grief is a natural and unavoidable result of these feelings of loss,” said Hope.

Caregivers in Nanaimo can learn tools and strategies for weathering the losses in a free six-part education program offered by the society beginning next month.

Coping with Transitions in Dementia Caregiving, and Dimensions of Loss and Grief runs on six Wednesdays, May 1 through June 5, from 6- 8:30 p.m.

It covers the following topics:

* Introduction to transitions.

* Dimensions of grief.

* Living with my grief.

* Honouring my grief: the treasured moments.

* Maintaining self: marshalling energy for the journey.

* Enhancing my resilience for the caregiving marathon.

To register, please contact Hope at 250-734-4170 or e-mail Group size is limited, and an individual appointment may be arranged with the facilitators to discuss participation.

To ensure everyone has the same basic understanding of dementia, participants will be required to have attended the society workshop Getting to Know Dementia, or the Family Caregiver Series (or equivalents).