Caregivers Group searches for volunteers

The Alzheimer Society of BC is starting up a monthly support group in Trail, and is looking for volunteers.

Are you a good listener and interested in serving your community?

The Alzheimer Society of BC is starting up a monthly support group in Trail, and is looking for volunteers.

“Facilitating a support group can be scary,” said Julie Leffelaar, support and education coordinator with the society.

“You are not expected to advise or be an expert, just be there to let the group talk. This will be a very gentle entry,” she added.

Leffelaar explained that for the next five or six months, if she could find some people, she would have them come along to ‘shadow’ her, and get a feel for group facilitation in the Family Caregivers Support Group meetings.

“The idea is that the group provide peer support,” she said.

Facilitating group conversation provides the caregiver an opportunity to reflect and, in fact, shape the journey they are on with a loved one, explained Leffelaar.

“We facilitate discussions about grief, difficult behaviours, transition between home and care centre, and ways to keep having fun,” she said.

Additionally, every April and October, the Society opens up a course in Vancouver, for people interested in facilitating groups.

Leffelaar said that the course includes an all expenses paid trip and is taught by some of the top councillors in BC.

“You will learn what group facilitation is and learn how to balance personalities,” she said.

“Background information on dementia will be discussed and you will learn how to deal with open grief, and things like that.”

The Society is asking for a time commitment of four hours a month and that the person is not currently an active caregiver.

“The Society has an incredible amount of materials and support for every volunteer,” she said.

There is a pre-registration process, so contact Leffelaar at 1-855-301-6742 or email JLeffelaar@alzheimerbc.org.

The next meeting in Trail is April 2, but thereafter, every second Tuesday of the month.

Historically in Trail, there was a support group for the last 17 years, but it died out awhile back, said Leffelaar.

“It went over really well, and we need to keep it going.”