Local residents who are caregivers for someone with dementia may soon have the opportunity for group support.

Anupa Mainali, a navigator with client services with the Alzheimer’s Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories, says they will be launching their support group at Points West with a public presentation in September.

Mainali says the Society works to offer education and support surrounding dementia. They also connect people to different services that can help them out. Support groups are one of the programs they offer and she says they are excited to begin offering it in Drayton Valley.

The presentation will be held at Points West on the first Tuesday of the month, which is September 5 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

“Anyone is welcome to attend,” says Mainali. However, the support group will only be open to those who are active care partners for someone with a form of dementia.

She says the presentation will go over some common types of dementia, communication tips, planning for the future, and other topics. Mainali says they will also touch on what the symptoms of dementia are and how the disease will progress in patients. At the presentation, active care partners are able to sign up for the support group the society will be offering at Points West.

Mainali says that while the Society’s main focus is Alzheimer’s, the group will only be open to people who are care partners for someone with dementia.

She says a common misconception is that dementia and Alzheimer’s are interchangeable. However, dementia is an umbrella term that Alzheimer’s falls under. Mainali says there are many other forms, such as vascular dementia, frontal lobe dementia, or Lewy body dementia.

“In October, starting at the same time and same location [as the September presentation], we are going to be starting our support group,” says Mainali.

She says the goal of the group is to have these caregivers get together with other community members who are going through something similar. The members will be able to offer tips and tricks they use, talk about what strategies are working for them, and ask questions of others.

Mainali says there are also virtual support groups and webinars for anyone who is unable to attend the group in person. 

“We also offer one-on-one customer support,” says Mainali. “So if people have any questions about dementia, their care partner, or someone they know with dementia, they are more than welcome to give us a call.”

Anyone looking for more information surrounding dementia and what the Society can do to help can visit https://alzheimer.ca/ab/en.

By Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 31, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Free Press   Drayton Valley, Alberta

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