Tom, Joseph, Irene and Donna meet once a month to talk about how their lives are affected by dementia. They are all caring for family members who are in various stages of the disease.
They, like many Victoria residents, also all attend a free caregiver support group offered locally by the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C.
“This is their lifeline, says Meriel Randerson, the society’s support and education coordinator for Greater Victoria.
“They can meet with people with similar issues who are in a unique position to offer support to others on the same journey. The group is a place that they can talk openly, share information and give each other mutual support.”
An estimated one in 11 B.C. residents over age 65 already live with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. And that number is projected to double over the next generation. The resulting need for assistance is soaring, and volunteers help ensure that the demand is met.
“Volunteers are absolutely invaluable to our team,” says Randerson. “It’s exceptionally rewarding work, to know that you are making a meaningful difference in someone’s life. Our volunteers tell us they get far more back in return than they give.”
Want to be a support group facilitator? The position has a few requirements:
• Excellent listening and empathetic skills
• Knowledge of dementia or a willingness to learn
• Facilitation skills or a willingness to learn
• Formal or informal caregiving experience an asset
Training is provided, and a one-year commitment is required.
For more information and to volunteer, please contact Randerson at 250-382-2052 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents can get more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias at email@example.com.