Unaddressed emotion adds to caregiver’s stress

An educational program provides Nanaimo caregivers an opportunity to deal with the loss and grief associated with dementia.

An educational program scheduled to start in the new year will provide Nanaimo caregivers an opportunity to deal with the loss and grief associated with dementia.

Jane Hope, regional support and education coordinator for the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C., said grief is a constant yet unaddressed emotion experienced by many people caring for a loved one with dementia.

“Grief is a constant yet hidden companion of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias,” said Hope. “The progression results in many changes in the relationship, in changed activities, in roles and responsibilities, in dreams and plans for the future, and in living circumstances, to name a few.

The program, called Coping with Transitions in Dementia Caregiving: Dimensions of Loss and Grief, was designed to provide caregivers with tools and strategies for weathering loss.

The program runs Wednesdays from Jan. 18 to Feb. 22 from 1-3:30 p.m. at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s boardroom at 200-1585 Bowen Rd.

The program will cover topics such as: dimensions of grief; living with grief; honouring grief and treasuring moments; maintaining a sense of self; and enhancing resilience for the marathon of caregiving.

“The dementia journey requires ongoing adjustment to many changes over a long period of time,” said Hope. “These changes that occur throughout the early, middle and late stages of the disease path result in feelings of loss. Grief is a natural and unavoidable result of these feelings of loss.”

Caregivers of people with dementia are asked to register by contacting Hope at 250-734-4170 or by e-mail at jhope@alzheimerbc.org.

Participants may be asked to attend other workshops hosted by the society.