Dementia workshop will focus on communication strategies

The second workshop in the BC Alzheimer Society Family Caregiver series focuses on communication.

Barbara Roden

The Journal

The B.C. Alzheimer Society (BCAS) is presenting the second in its series of Family Caregivers workshops in Ashcroft on Tuesday, March 1. The workshop—“Understanding Communication”—will be held at the Ashcroft HUB (711 Hill Street) from 1:00 to 4:00pm.

Tara Hildebrand, Support and Education Coordinator for the BCAS, says that the first workshop was about understanding dementia and its impact. “There are all sorts of types of dementia, with about 65% of those diagnosed having Alzheimer’s.”

Dementia results in a loss of communication, as those affected by the disease begin “unlearning” how to use words. “They start to skip words, or mix them up, which is one of the first signs of dementia. Nouns are one of the first things they lose, and they’re pretty important for communication. When a person is losing their ability to communicate and understand, there will be changes in their behaviour.”

Hildebrand explains that brain damage is occurring, and notes that once families and caregivers understand that it makes it easier to deal with. The workshop will give participants various scenarios and situations that might arise in conversation with their loved ones, and explain what, and what not, to say and do.

“We give them strategies and coping skills, so that they can adjust and lower their expectations about what the affected person is capable of. There’s no point getting into an argument. Participants learn to say what the person with dementia needs to hear, and then do what needs to be done behind the scenes.”

There were 25 participants at the first workshop, and 30 people have signed up for the second one. Admission is by donation, but anyone who would like to attend needs to register before March 1, as space is limited. For more information, or to register for the Understanding Communication workshop, contact Hildebrand at 1-800-886-6946.

The third workshop—“Understanding Behaviour”—will be held on April 5, and a fourth workshop—“Self-care for Caregivers”—is planned for May. For more information visit the BCAS website at www.alzheimer.ca/bc/.

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