Lifestyles

Alzheimer Society needs Vernon volunteers

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.

The local resource centre of the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C. needs volunteers who can facilitate monthly local support groups.

“Volunteers are absolutely invaluable to our team,” says Carly Gronlund, the society’s support and education coordinator for Vernon. “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.”

These support groups are a lifeline for people who care for family members who are in various stages of dementia.

“Caregivers can meet with people with similar issues who are in a unique position to offer support to others on the same journey,” says Gronlund. “The group is a place that they can talk openly, share information and give each other mutual support.”

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.

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.

For more information and to volunteer, contact Gronlund at 250-860-0305 or cgronlund@alzheimerbc.org.

Residents can get more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by visiting www.alzheimerbc.org.

 

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