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Posted: January 14, 2021

Webinar to look at dementia and the pandemic

“The pandemic has had a major impact on the lives of the estimated 70,000 British Columbians living with dementia in B.C., including residents of the Kootenays,” said Ruth Cordiner, a Support & Education Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s West Kootenay region. “The isolation they face has highlighted why we need to start taking real action in changing the future of people affected by the disease.”

Changing the future is the theme for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this year. Throughout the month, people across the province are sharing their experiences and hopes for the future: people like and Nelson caregiver Stephanie Moss.

She is a long-distance caregiving for her mother in Ontario. While her mother continues to live on her own, she struggles to stay connected. Online platforms like Zoom aren’t possible for her to navigate and she is less inclined to reach out to people.

“You want to be able to see the person,” Moss shares. “You want to know how they’re handling the day to day.”

Moss, who followed in her mother’s footsteps and become a registered nurse, is no stranger to supporting people around her. She sought out the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and joined a support group before she eventually volunteered as a group facilitator herself. With the pandemic highlighting the value and importance of respite for caregivers, she hopes to see more resources for families who are affected by dementia.

Moss is just one of the many British Columbians sharing their stories in hopes of galvanizing a broad community of care in northern B.C. to help the Alzheimer Society of B.C. achieve its vision of a dementia-friendly province, where people affected by dementia are acknowledged, supported and included.

“Individual gestures of support – the ripples – create the groundswell that is needed to help us reach that future. Everyone has a role to play,” said Cordiner. “We’re asking people to celebrate Alzheimer’s Awareness Month by staying connected to people in their lives who are affected by the disease, raising their voices to advocate, and investing in our cause.”

As part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, residents are invited to a special webinar sponsored by Clark Wilson LLP entitled, “Raise your voice: Dementia, long-term care and COVID-19,” on January 27.

The webinar will feature a panel of experts and people with lived experience discussing the challenge of balancing health and safety concerns with ensuring that families can support people living with dementia in long-term care to stay active and engaged.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on a problem that advocates and support persons were keenly aware of prior to the emergence of this global health crisis: individuals with dementia are too often silenced, and their needs too casually overlooked. It is important to remember that these individuals have much to share, both with respect to directing their own care and contributing to society at large,” says Emily Clough from Clark Wilson LLP, who is moderating the panel. “We owe our elders, and those closest to them, a duty to listen, and to respect their dignity and autonomy. Together we can create a safer, more inclusive future for individuals and families coping with dementia.”

To learn more about how you can help change the future for people living with dementia, visit alzbc.org/future.

WEBINAR INFORMATION

Raise your voice: Dementia, long-term care and COVID-19

Date: January 27, 2021

Time: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Accessibility: ASL and closed captioning will be available.

Registration: Visit alzbc.org/future

Lead image: Caregiver Stephanie Moss of Nelson, with her mother. Photo submitted

Submitted by Alzheimer Society of B.C.


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