Dementia workshop for caregivers coming to Vanderhoof

A Vanderhoof resident is encouraging caregivers who are dealing with dementia in their partners or family members to come out for a workshop in February.

Connexus will host the workshop on Feb. 12 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm said Georgene Powell. Powell organized the event by reaching out to a support worker who has agreed to come speak to caregivers about self-care.

“The workshop is also to understand how to avoid or lessen burnout. The support worker will have strategy on how to deal with the stress of being a caregiver and she will also be open to questions,” she said.

Powell told the Omineca Express that her husband Steve had dementia and while she was a caregiver and loved her husband, seeing him go through dementia was very difficult.

“It weighs down on you because you don’t get to sleep and you don’t know whether you are doing the right thing,” she said.

For Powell having health care home workers come for two hours a day was like ‘a breath of fresh air.’

“I am a walker, so I could walk around, run errands. But when I would come back he would be angry that I had gone.”

One day Steve walked right out of his home and didn’t want Powell to follow him, so she hid in bushes around her house every time he looked behind.

“That’s their state of mind. So you have to learn how to keep the doors locked, so I got one of those little baby things you put on door knobs. And then you have to get up early in the morning to take it off, otherwise he would have his feelings hurt,” she said.

Steve was a teacher and was very bright, Powell said, adding that he was an avid reader and couldn’t read in his later years.

“One day he woke up in tears because his handwriting was bad. It’s to watch them fall. Just swallows their whole personality.”

So for Powell, having a support group where she can talk to others who have similar experiences is very important.

Caregivers have a difficult life, Powell said, adding that accessing the right tools to help support the caregiver through their journey is very important.

Apart from the workshop this month, there is a support group for caregivers that meets every second Wednesday at the Public Library staff room.

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

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