Henry, Mark, Emily and Sarah 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 all attend a free caregiver support group offered by the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C.
“This is their lifeline,” said Jillian Armit, the society’s support and education coordinator for Mission. “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 that they can talk openly, share information and give each other mutual support.”
An estimated one in 11 B.C. residents over age 65 already live with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. That number is projected to double within 25 years. The resulting need for assistance is soaring and volunteers help ensure that the demand is met.
“Volunteers are absolutely invaluable to our team,” said Armit. “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 in return than they give.”
Want to be a support group facilitator? The position has a few requirements:
• excellent listening and empathetic skills;
• knowledge of dementia or a willingness to learn;
• facilitation skills or a willingness to learn;
• formal or informal caregiving experience an asset.
Training is provided, and a one-year commitment is required.
For more information and to volunteer, contact Armit at 604-859-3889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents can get more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by visiting alzheimerbc.org.