Lea Adams

A journey beyond care

As a care aide who works exclusively with advanced dementia sufferers, the number one thing Lea Adams prescribes is patience.

As a care aide who works exclusively with advanced dementia sufferers, the number one thing Lea Adams prescribes is patience.

“If a resident doesn’t want you to do something, the best thing is to come back and try again,” she says. “Otherwise, it just agitates them.”

Adams, who has been at Nelson’s Mountain Lake Seniors Community since it opened and was at Mount St. Francis before that, also says kindness, a quiet atmosphere, and tackling one task at a time are all important in dealing with people with Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

There are a dozen patients in the cottage where she works, each with varying needs.

“You tell them what you’re going to do, one thing at a time, otherwise they don’t understand. Then just work slowly and it seems fine,” Adams says.

During meals, she closes the door between the cottage’s north and south wings so residents who finish eating on one side don’t disturb those still eating on the other.

Some can no longer feed themselves.

“You have to have good eye contact, tell them to open their mouth, sometimes tell them to swallow, and give them the next mouthful,” Adams says.

Some won’t remain seated for long, however, so “you have to walk and feed them.”

Adams didn’t have special training when she took the job, although she did have experience with dementia patients in unsegregated settings.

She’s now permanently on day shift five days a week, but has worked afternoon and evening shifts as well, which come with their own circumstances.

Around sunset, some residents will walk around a lot. More active or demanding residents will go to bed early because they’re so tired — but then get up at night.

At all times, safety is key for both patient and caregiver.

“There can be a bit of aggression,” Adams says. “As you learn what the resident likes and dislikes, that’s the thing you have to watch out for. You don’t want to get hurt.”

Despite its many challenges, she says the job is highly rewarding. Not many residents remember her name — but they do know her face.

“When they see you, some just come running or smile. I’ll give them a hug and they say ‘Oh, thank you.’ They’ll tell you they love you. Or when you’re holding onto them, you know they feel so comfortable and want to be with you almost the whole shift, like a shadow.”

She also finds families who visit “unbelievably appreciative of what we do.”

While caregiving is her profession, it’s hard not to form personal attachments.

“The best thing is to be extremely kind to the residents,” she says. “They become part of your family because you’re with them every day.”


The local Investors Group Alzheimer’s Walk for Memories is scheduled for this weekend and is a fundraiser for the Nelson branch of the Alzheimer Soceity of BC. The walk will be held on Sunday at the Nelson and District Community Complex. Registration is at 1 p.m. and the walk starts at 2 p.m. on the concourse of the facility. For more information on the walk head to walkformemories.com.

Just Posted

Glacier Gymnastics big winner in annual grant funding

Columbia Basin Trust doled out $1.4 million in grants to the regional organizations

Procter working to reopen community bakery

The Procter Community Society is fundraising upwards of $100,000 for the project

Kaslo bus fueled by vegetable oil to begin service next month

Mountain Man Mike’s will run routes to Vancouver and eventually Edmonton

KAST receives $15,000 for inclusive programs at Nelson Tech Club

‘These programs will be a perfect introduction to using technology’

Nelson to send two musicians to provincial Festival of The Arts

Lucas Alexander and Nico Bucher will compete in Chilliwack later this month

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read