Caregivers get help in role as ‘the invisible second clients’

Free Family Caregiver workshop in Victoria for five Mondays, beginning on May 25.

Family caregivers of people with dementia are often called “the invisible second clients” for good reason.

As many Victoria families have found, their roles as informal caregivers are critical to the quality of life of the person they care for, who generally require increasing levels of care.

“Without caregivers, people with dementia would have an increasingly poorer quality of life and would need residential care more quickly,” says Meriel Randerson, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Support & Education Coordinator for Greater Victoria.

The support, though, can come at a cost: caregiver exhaustion. And that’s why the society is bringing its free Family Caregiver workshop to Victoria for five Mondays, beginning on May 25.

The evening workshops help caregivers 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 to their family members.

“We provide practical techniques and strategies that caregivers can begin using immediately,” Randerson 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 May 25 through June 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Hillside Seniors Health Centre, 1454 Hillside Ave.. Pre-registration is required. For information and to register call 250-370-5641 (press 2) or e-mail WellnessCentreRegistration@viha.ca.

More information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as resources for living with their impact, are available by contacting Meriel Randeron at 250-382-2052 or mranderson@alzheimerbc.org and by going online to alzheimerbc.org.