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Dementia education and support goes virtual

Greater Trail residents invited to join Alzheimer’s B.C webinars
Visit the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s website to sign up for an online session. (Submitted photo)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dramatically affect the way of life in Trail, Rossland and area, providing support for the community’s most vulnerable residents is more important than ever before.

While maintaining physical distancing during this time is essential, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is urging residents not to forget about people living with dementia and their caregivers.

One way the society is offering support is through webinars this month - starting Wednesday, May 13 - that address the timely topic of long-distance caregiving.

To register for any of these free sessions, visit the Alzheimer B.C. website at

“During this time of increased isolation, many people affected by dementia may feel disconnected from support networks and will face unexpected challenges,” says Ruth Cordiner, West Kootenay regional support and education coordinator.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia affects the whole family.

“A person living with dementia needs more and more help as the disease progresses – and family members are often the first people to provide this help,” Cordiner said.

“However, when family members aren’t living with the person – often in other cities, provinces or even countries – caregiving can present special challenges, even under normal circumstances. Long-distance caregiving is even more of a challenge in these uncertain times.”

Tips for long-distance


Caring for someone long distance is even more complicated now that physical distancing and travel restrictions are in place. Staying in touch requires regular communication. Staying in touch from a distance requires regular communication and involving others to help.

Here are some suggestions:

· Establish a routine: An established routine can be reassuring for everyone. Make a video call with FaceTime or other software, call or write letters/emails to exchange news and find out how things are going. Keep in mind, however, that equipment may only be useful for those in the early stages of the disease.

· Contact the healthcare provider: Arrange to meet the person’s healthcare provider to get to know them. Establish a way to keep in contact.

· Maintain contact with other caregivers: Stay in touch with any caregivers nearby. This may include a neighbour, a friend, or a relative who lives with, or near, your family member. It could also be a social worker or a staff person from a local Alzheimer Society. Be sure to let these people know that you appreciate their help. Keep in mind the different viewpoints of close and distant relatives. On the one hand, you may be the first to notice a problem. Confusion or memory loss may have developed so gradually that others may not have noticed the change. On the other hand, because you are not there every day, you may not realize how difficult the situation is for the regular caregiver.

· Support each other: If another family member is providing care, talk with them and offer your support. Try to understand each other’s feelings and points of view and talk over what can be done. Find ways to support each other and to share responsibilities.

Attend a webinar

· May 13, 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. Long-distance caregiving : Practical tips on providing meaningful caregiving support from a distance.

· May 20, 2 p.m. “Why do I feel this way?” Coping with changes brought by dementia: Explore change and loss and the uncertainty of the dementia experience.

· May 27, 2 p.m. Accessing care services during COVID-19: Learn strategies for navigating changes in accessing services and how to get the most out of your interactions with care providers.

About dementia

Dementia is a term that describes a general group of brain disorders. Symptoms include the loss of memory, impaired judgment, and changes in behaviour and personality. Dementia is progressive, degenerative and eventually terminal.

The Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s vision is a world without dementia; that vision begins with a world where people living with the disease are welcomed, acknowledged and included. Working in communities throughout the province, the society supports, educates and advocates for people living with dementia, as well as enabling research into the disease.

As part of a national federation, the society is a leading authority on the disease in Canada.

Accessing support

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is committed to ensuring that people affected by dementia have the confidence and skills to live the best life possible. First Link® dementia support is the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s suite of programs and services designed to help them. First Link® is available throughout the progression of the disease, from diagnosis (or before) to end-of-life care.

Connect to First Link® by asking your health-care provider for a referral or by calling the First Link® Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033. The Helpline is available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Sheri Regnier

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