© Andrew Wagstaff - The Citizen-Record
Sherry Johnson (left) and Fonda Hutchinson are preparing for a family caregiver education series for those with family members suffering from Alzheimer's or other dementia. The sessions will take place on Wednesday evenings at South Cumberland Community Care Centre from May 1 to June 5.
PARRSBORO – Those suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia do not suffer alone, as their caregivers are often left with a heavy weight to carry.
Help is at hand, however, in the form of a six-part family caregiver education series being presented by the Cumberland Health Authority and the VON Cumberland, developed by the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia.
“It’s a good support for participants, because there are a lot out there – especially in rural communities – almost living in isolation,” said Fonda Hutchinson, community supports co-ordinator with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON.) “They don’t realize there are others out there going through the same thing as them, or that there are resources out there.”
The education series will take place on Wednesday evenings from May 1 to June 5 at South Cumberland Community Care Centre, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The sessions are free, and will include presentations and interactive activities to help family members prepare for their role.
Sherry Johnson, who is involved with a local support group for caregivers of people suffering from memory loss, said she wanted to hold the local series after hearing how it was held successfully in other communities, such as Amherst, in which Hutchinson was involved.
Johnson said she has seen the need for the series, just from within the support group she meets with, which includes members from Parrsboro and surrounding areas such as Five Islands, Advocate and Southampton. She emphasized that the education series is for just that – education – and does not come with any extra responsibilities or workload for the caregivers.
“That’s not what we’re about,” she said. “We’re about information, talking to someone who has actually lived it or is living it. It’s just for support.”
The weekly sessions will include overview of dementia; planning ahead (financial and legal); day-to-day living; care for the caregiver; and responding to changing care needs. Many will involve guest speakers with expertise in particular fields.
“It’s set up so we can do it ourselves, but I found in Amherst and in other places that it works nice to bring in local experts to talk each week on different subjects,” said Hutchinson. “It kind of gives the participants a feel for the resources that are out there, and a chance to talk to the people that really know their stuff.”
Space in the education series is limited to 15 participants.
To register, or for more information, contact Sherry Johnson at 254-2540.