The Baby Boomers are the single biggest aging demographic in modern history, and along with that comes challenges such as the scourge of dementia. But there is hope for those living with a family member suffering from dementia.
“Understanding Dementia: It Affects All of Us” is a one-day workshop with guest speaker Angela King, chaplain for the Good Samaritan society and PAC trainer in dementia care with Teepa Snow. She said the workshop address a serious issue facing Alberta families: living with a family member who has dementia.
“We’re not prepared for it,” said King by phone Apr. 6. “It’s happening to everyone around us. No one is immune.”
She said the word “dementia” can be very scary for those unfamiliar with it, and this workshop is a practical and realistic way to learn about something that many families will have to face. “It’s for anyone in the community who’s interested,” she said.
The gist of the day will be learning how to communicate and interact with people who have dementia. Participants will learn new skills that they can take away with them and practice, skills that are simple but require attention.
King said those with dementia don’t know their condition, so there isn’t much the can do to adapt. It’s up to their family, friends and loved ones to learn those new skills.
King said her own experience working with those suffering dementia began with war veterans who were aged, some around 100 years of age. But after she moved to Alberta and started working, she noticed some of the residents were only in their mid-60’s, and she knew one who had Parkinson’s and mild dementia and was only 52 years of age.
“The dementia was showing up maybe two, three, four years before too,” said King. She noted that as sufferers get younger, they will live longer with dementia and friends and family need new skills to live with them for longer.
If the community doesn’t learn new skills and just lets sufferers languish, the picture is a dark one. “People living with dementia are going to become even more isolated,” said King.
“The picture is really bleak if we aren’t willing to get involved.
“We can change. We can learn to adapt and respond differently and in a better way.”
“Understanding Dementia: It Affects all of Us” will be held Thursday, May 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the First United Church located at 5115 51st Ave. in Wetaskiwin. A fee of $20 is necessary to cover costs and includes lunch and nutrition breaks.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. Registration fee must be received by First United Church before April 28 to reserve your spot. Call 780-352-2157 to pre-register.
The program is sponsored by First United Church with help from Grace Lutheran Church.