Beth Jackson, co-ordinator of education and outreach for the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia.
WESTVILLE – A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be a jarring, turbulent event for families. The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia’s Family Caregiver Education Series seeks to help families navigate that turbulence.
Beth Jackson, co-ordinator of education and outreach for the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, said the objective of the series is to educate people about what to expect with Alzheimer’s, as best as possible.
“There is a lot of help out there, but sometimes, families don’t know where to start or where to turn,” said Jackson. “Every journey is different, but a lot of the time, through these programs, caregivers are able to share and learn from each other.”
The series is for family members or friends of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – or other related dementia. The main objective behind the series is planning ahead, so caregivers have a deeper knowledge and understanding of dementia – and are more aware of the many community resources they can use to deal with the condition.
“We have a lot of community partners that refer their clients to the Alzheimer Society, and when they do, we can talk about what programs are available in different communities,” said Jackson.
After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, Jackson said, “A lot of family caregivers ask, ‘What next?’ So this program helps to give them more information about the disease, and what they can expect – and what they can do to plan for the future.”
The series in Westville entails a four-week program, focusing on a different topic every week.
“It’s an overview of dementia, and financial affairs. One week I have a lawyer coming in to present on matters like power of attorney, and what all those terms mean,” said Jackson. “Participants can learn from guest speakers, but are able to connect with each other – that’s another great thing about the program.”
According to literature released by the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, caregivers who are underprepared are at risk, themselves, for problems with their physical and mental health.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, the need for care, and additional support increases. When people are better equipped with education and resources, they can more easily make properly informed decisions that meet health care needs, stated literature from the Alzheimer Society.
The series of workshops will be running at the Westville Library, in the Community Room, starting Sept. 19. The workshops will run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The series will run at no cost, but registration is required.
The series will include:
– An overview of dementia
– Strategies for planning ahead
– Day-to-Day living strategies
– A segment on care for the caregiver
– Education on understanding dementia-related behaviour
– A guide to responding to changing care needs