When dementia is diagnosed, loss and grief follows.
Fortunately, caregiving family members from Kitimat can get help dealing with these loss and grief issues, thanks to an innovative educational program.
Coping with Transitions connects residents with a skilled registered coach with extensive knowledge and experience in counselling caregivers of people with a dementia.
“The dementia journey requires ongoing adjustment to many changes over a long period of time that result in feelings of loss,” explains project leader Dr. Penny MacCourt, from the Centre on Aging at University of Victoria.
A family member’s dementia can change relationships, roles and responsibilities, dreams and plans for the future, and even living circumstances. Added together, it can have a major impact on the family.
“Unattended caregiver grief can compound other stressors and increase caregiver distress and negative health consequences.”
Coping with Transitions offers residents both online and telephone group formats, allowing participants to share experiences and to learn from each other, says MacCourt.
Interested caregivers can choose from two options:
*A telephone group running Wednesdays from May 18 through June 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
*An online group running Thursdays from May 12 through June 23, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Interested residents must pre-register for the program by contacting MacCourt toll-free at 1-877-244-0419. She will explain the research project, answer any questions, and provide assessment forms that are required before the first meeting.
The choice or phone or online groups provides convenience, since participants don’t have to leave their homes, and accessibility, which is vital for those living in rural areas.
The format also provides participants with choice of location; they can work from anywhere that has a telephone or an internet connection. Participants are assured of confidentiality
Coping with Transitions aims to identify tools and strategies for weathering the losses, and to provide a greater number of options for caregivers to better meet their needs. Increased access to support will benefit families and may delay the need for placement for their family members with dementia, MacCourt says.
The program is supported by the Alzheimer Society of BC.