David, Ken, Stephanie and Laura 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 and they attend a free caregiver support group offered by the Alzheimer Society of BC.
An estimated one in 11 BC residents over age 65 already live with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. That number is projected to double within a generation (25 years). The resulting need for assistance is soaring, and volunteers help ensure that the demand is met.
To ensure its programs continue to meet local demand, the Society needs to fill some volunteer positions in Nelson.
“Volunteers are absolutely invaluable to our team,” says Julie Leffelaar, the Society’s support and education coordinator for the West Kootenay.
“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 than they give.”
A facilitator is needed for the monthly support group, which has enormous value to caregivers.
“This is their lifeline,” says Leffelaar. “They can meet with people with similar issues who are in a unique position to offer support to others on the same journey. The group is a place where they can talk openly, share information and give each other mutual support.”
The facilitator should have excellent listening and empathetic skills, and a knowledge of dementia or a willingness to learn. Formal or informal caregiving experience is an asset.
Training is provided, and a one-year commitment is required.
For more information and to volunteer, contact Julie Leffelaar at toll-free 1-855-301-6742 or jleffelaar(at)alzheimerbc.org
Residents can get more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by visiting alzheimerbc.org.