Caring for someone living with dementia takes a tremendous toll on a care partner’s physical and emotional health. To help Cowichan Valley caregivers, the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C. is teaming up with geriatric psychiatrist and certified mindfulness meditation teacher Dr. Elisabeth Drance, to provide free online educational workshops.
Drance has been working with Providence Health Care’s Dementia Caregiver Resilience Team since its inception in 2017. She has seen the benefit of mindfulness practice in her own life throughout her caregiving journey with both parents, and is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry with the department of Psychiatry at UBC.
“We are often distracted when we are in conversation with our family member — thinking about the next thing to get done, or the last challenging interaction we just had. This means that often we aren’t mentally present when trying to connect! I like to call this ‘mindless care’ and it often doesn’t go well.”
Mindfulness — being truly attentive to the present moment experience without judgment — supports self-care for the caregiver, and supports interactions that are more wise and aware.
A session in early August will focus on the essential skill of self-compassion for dementia caregivers. Supporting a family member with cognitive change inevitably leads to challenges and missteps. Self-compassion helps care partners to rebound from these events with greater effectiveness. This webinar is entitled “Self compassion: A key skill for building resilience on the dementia caregiving journey” and will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 2 p.m.
Following the webinars, recordings of the sessions will be available to watch at alzbc.org/webinars.
The Society hosts free dementia education webinars every week for anyone affected by dementia or interested in learning more. The schedule includes:
• Caregiving during COVID-19 (Wednesday, July 22, 2 p.m.): An overview of tips and strategies for families coping with dementia-related challenges that may arise because of COVID-19.
• Building caregiver resilience for the dementia journey: The skill of self-compassion (Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2 p.m.): Join Dr. Elisabeth Drance to explore the concept of self-compassion and practice skills to help with dementia care partnering.
• Understanding dementia (Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2 p.m.): Learn how dementia affects a person’s brain and behaviour, as well as the disease’s impact on family.
• Understanding communication (Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2 p.m.): Explore how communication is affected by dementia and learn effective communication strategies.
To register for any of these webinars, please visit alzbc.org/webinars.